June 7, 1940

INDUSTRY AND THE WAR


REFERENCE TO PROPOSED ADVISORY COMMITTEE-[DOT]


CONFERENCE OF CANADIAN MANUFACTURERS WITH CABINET


On the orders of the day:


NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Hon. R. B. HANSON (Leader of the Opposition) :

Mr. Speaker, on the 23rd of February last the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King), in his third broadcast in the election campaign, is reported to have made this statement:

With the war and its problems growing in intensity and magnitude, I shall seek, if we are returned to power, to bring to the aid of the ministry, in an advisory capacity, a still larger number of men of outstanding ability and experience whose services in one way or another might be made available to the state, and add strength to the administration of our policies. How best their services might be consolidated and used, whether in an immediate association with the war cabinet, or with a member of the cabinet, intimately associated with its war activities, is something that I would like to consider with my colleagues before the next parliament reassembles.

This was an important statement. It will be noted that these men of outstanding ability and experience were to be brought in to the aid of the ministry in an advisory capacity, and are to be distinguished from those already or afterwards brought in as administrators or executives. Nothing happened, and more than three months passed, when, on the 31st day of May last, at Winnipeg, the Canadian Manufacturers association issued a statement expressing "a deep-rooted conviction"-

. . . that there exist some definite causes that are responsible for Canadian plants receiving orders for only a small percentage of their capacity, and respectfully urges the Canadian government to send governmental ministerial representatives to England to clear away misunderstandings presently existing, in order that Canadian industry may be speeded up immediately and take its full share in the defence of our empire and country.

That statement gave expression to two or more important ideas:

(a) That Canadian industrial plants were not being utilized except in a small degree;

(b) That immediate action as indicated should be taken to speed up production in Canadian industry in order that it might take its full share in the defence of the empire and country.

From a press report it would appear that yesterday, June 6, thirty members of the Canadian Manufacturers association had a two-hour discussion with the cabinet on this important matter, but no word was given out beyond this, that the conference had been mutually helpful-which sounds like the Prime Minister, and does not mean much in the

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Industry and the War

way of concrete information to the public as to what is being done-so that Canadian industry may do its full part in contributing to empire and Canadian defence. In this morning's papers is an announcement, however, that "plans looking to a more complete mobilization and control of Canadian industry for war effort are being worked out by the government."

May I ask the Prime Minister to take the house and the country into his confidence and tell us:

1. If it is the intention of the government to set up an advisory committee composed of men of outstanding ability and experience whose services might be made available to the state and thus add strength to the administration of our policies.

2. Is this advisory committee not to propose new policies?

3. What, if any, arrangements have been made with the committee of the Canadian Manufacturers association to further the objects of that association in speeding up and taking their full share in industrial activity for the defence of the empire and Canada?

And finally:

4. While parliament is in session should not all such important announcements of policy and administration be made by the Prime Minister or by the appropriate member of the cabinet in the house?

I do respectfully protest that public announcement of policy in respect of matters of vital importance should be made here. Otherwise we shall be reduced to the status of rubber stamps.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

I have a fairly good memorj- but I doubt very much whether I can claim to be able to remember all that my hon. friend has read from the document he has before him.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

Perhaps I should have sent it to the Prime Minister.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

As my hon. friend has just mentioned, he did not favour me with notice in advance that he intended to bring up the matter to-da3'. However, may I say to him at once that I agree with his point of view regarding important announcements of public policy being made in the house, and that is one reason why I thought it well to give the press the abbreviated statement I did yesterday with respect to the interview that took place between members of the manufacturers association and the government. It leaves me free to make a statement now to the house for the first time as to what took place at the conference.

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

That is what we want to hear.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I took occasion to ask the large representation of manufacturers who were present if they would like to have the press called in to the conference. It was intimated in reply that it would be preferable that the conference should be held within the confines of my office in the manner in which it was being conducted, and that the press be not invited to be present.

The conference was devoted to the consideration of a resolution passed at a recent meeting in Winnipeg of the manufacturers association. The conference was between members of the government and this large representative delegation. It was arranged at the earliest possible moment after the request for the conference had been made; and it was 1 think agreed by all at the conclusion of the meeting that it had been mutually helpful and eminently satisfactory. One of the subjects brought up was the question of sending to the old country some member of the ministry and, possibly, delegates from the manufacturers association who might while there endeavour to clear up any misunderstandings-I believe that was the word-which might exist with respect to the desire of the government of Canada to have as much manufacturing done in this country as possible as a result of orders which might be placed here from Great Britain. The members of the association were given information by different members of the government as to the steps that had all along been taken fully to advise the British government of Canada's industrial capacity and of the desire both of the government and of the manufacturers to cooperate in every way in taking the fullest advantage of that capacity to fill orders for the British government; of the many representations that had been made by ministers of the crown in telegrams and in other ways to the British government with respect to possible orders that might be placed here; etcetera, etcetera. At the end of the discussion of that point it was suggested that perhaps a better way of effecting what was desired would be to have Mr. Massey, the High Commissioner in London, immediately bring to the attention of the British government the fact that representatives of the manufacturers association and members of the government had met together, had discussed the question of orders that might be placed in Canada, and that he should press upon the British government, particularly the departments of that government which would have to do with matters of the kind, the earnest desire, both of the government of Canada

Industry and the War

and of the manufacturers, to have such business placed as quickly as possible and, to as large an extent as possible. I believe it was felt that that method of making the presentation would be better than sending over another minister of the crown, to be accompanied by representatives of the manufacturers association.

The members of the delegation were surprised, I think, to learn of the many representations that had been made by different members of the government, and by others authorized by the government to make them, to the British government regarding our desire to obtain such orders as might be placed here, and our ability to fill them.

The other question discussed at some length was that of having some outstanding industrialist placed in a position where he could help to supervise production being carried on in Canada, particularly the class of supplies that come under the direction of the Minister of Munitions and Supply. I doubt whether, at the time the representations were made, the gentlemen who were making them had any idea of the extent to which leading industrialists and businessmen in Canada had already been drafted into the service of the government in connection with the production of munitions and supplies. The representatives were told of what had been done in that regard, and the offer was made immediately by my friend and colleague, the Minister of Munitions and Supply, that if the members of the delegation had any one to suggest in whom they would have more confidence than those already engaged in that capacity, and would submit his name, the minister would immediately see that he was taken on to assist in the supervision of the production of munitions and supplies in his department.

With regard to what I said in the course of the recent campaign, my hon. friend has quoted me correctly. I did say, with respect to what might be best in the connection mentioned, that I would wish to confer with my colleagues in the government and take the steps that seemed advisable. We have been most successful not only in bringing, in an advisory capacity, many of the leading industrialists and business men in Canada into the departments concerned with the speeding up of Canada's war effort, but we have been doubly fortunate in securing the services, in a good many instances without remuneration, of some of those gentlemen to assist from day to day in the work of actual administration of the departments concerned. I need not mention individual names though I might perhaps mention one as an illustration. In the Department of National Defence for Air, as my hon. friend knows, we were successful in 95826-39

obtaining the services of Mr. James Duncan, an exceptionally able business executive, who is giving his services to the country without remuneration, not only giving the benefit of his advice on many matters on which we have had occasion to consult him but also giving his entire time to the work of the air ministry as acting deputy minister. In the Department of Munitions and Supply the minister has been fortunate in drafting into that department some dozen, I think I am right in saying-

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Munitions and Supply; Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Some eighteen or twenty.

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

-eighteen or twenty, as my hon. friend tells me, leading industrialists or business men who are giving the benefit of their counsel and advice to him, and through him to the government, and not only that but are actively participating in the work of the direction of production of supplies with which that department is engaged. I might mention other cases in other departments, but I hope I have illustrated in a general way the method by which the government have been seeking to implement, if not in whole, in part at least, the undertaking which I gave during the recent general election campaign.

There are times and seasons for all things. The government is by no means relaxing its efforts to secure the right persons to assist in war work. Whether or not, or just when, it may be best to have the ministry itself enlarged, is a matter still under consideration. But I can assure my hon. friend that it is one to which I am giving, in collaboration with my colleagues, the most careful consideration,

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NAT

Richard Burpee Hanson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. HANSON (York-Sunbury):

The Prime Minister overlooked the first part of my inquiry, in regard to the setting up of an advisory committee. Perhaps he will give further consideration to that.

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STATEMENT AS TO PROPOSED CONFERENCE WITH LABOUR ORGANIZATIONS


On the orders of the day:


CCF

Clarence Gillis

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. CLARENCE GILLIS (Cape Breton South):

In view of the statement of the Prime Minister in regard to consultations with leading industrialists, will he inform the house whether the heads of the central labour organizations have been invited in for similar consultations?

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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I am glad to be able to tell my hon. friend that immediately after yesterday's conference I gave instructions to arrange a similar conference next

United States Visa Laic

week with representative labour organizations. The Minister of Labour (Mr. McLarty) some time ago had this in mind and has been seeing representative heads of the different organizations for purposes of consultation.

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UNITED STATES VISA LAW

EXECUTIVE OEDER REQUIRING PASSPORTS FROM CANADIANS CROSSING BOUNDARY


On the orders of the day:


June 7, 1940