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
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?
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.