March 18, 1943

LIB

Thomas Vien (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I assure the hon. member that he need not rise in fear and trepidation if his question is in order.

Topic:   PASSPORTS
Subtopic:   INCONVENIENCES RESULTING FROM RECENT CHANGES IN PROCEDURE
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PC

Norman James Macdonald Lockhart

Progressive Conservative

Mr. LOCKHART:

I desire to direct a

question to the Prime Minister. Apparently I may not make any explanation. There is a definite misconception of the passport regulations at border points. The new regulations make it evident that a man living at say Kingston must come to Ottawa to have the new form completed, which is a very serious inconvenience. Will the Prime Minister see that a full and definite statement is made so that people will know whether it is better to follow the present procedure or whether they can choose between it and the old form of passport, which some of them seem to think they cannot now obtain because of the new regulations?

Topic:   PASSPORTS
Subtopic:   INCONVENIENCES RESULTING FROM RECENT CHANGES IN PROCEDURE
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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 made a statement on the subject at the time the change was made. But I shall direct the attention of the passport office to the apparent incompleteness of the statement in the light of what my hon. friend has said, and shall make a new statement at an early date.

PRIVILEGE-Mr. CHURCH

Topic:   PASSPORTS
Subtopic:   INCONVENIENCES RESULTING FROM RECENT CHANGES IN PROCEDURE
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REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE FOR NAVAL SERVICES IN DEBATE ON MARCH 17


On the orders of the day:


NAT

Thomas Langton Church

National Government

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to a question of privilege. About the time the house closed yesterday afternoon, a derogatory reference was made to me when I asked a question about the very grave danger from lack of escorts in the Atlantic and the gulf of St. Lawrence. My remarks on this subject are reported in Hansard of Wednesday and Thursday, March 10 and 11, and I wish to read three or four sentences in justification of my position. On. March 10, as reported at pages 1150 and 1151, I said:

To-day I had occasion to ask one of the ministers a question, in a desire to encourage him in his work. . . .

Privilege-Mr. Church

I then pointed out that I was one of those who supported the increased estimates brought down before the war, and I added:

Those estimates were opposed by a great many hon. members . . . Since the beginning of the war 1 have believed in giving the government of the day all possible support, because they are the government and need encouragement. Our forces on land and sea and in the air have been magnificent. The history of courage has been gloriously rewritten in this war by those young Canadians who are serving in o'ur armed forces and by the splendid showing of our navy. . . .

I sympathize with the hon. gentleman who is head of our department of naval services; he is not to blame, but I must say that a year ago I pointed out to him the condition that had been found by General de Gaulle around St. Pierre and Miquelon and in the gulf of St. Lawrence and the German submarines there.

I said further, on page 1151:

At that time I also told the minister that we were in danger of being invaded; as the axis had submarines capable of crossing the Atlantic without refuelling; and all during the sessions of 1936, 1937, 1938 and 1939, until the war started, ... I asked if we were to -wait until the enemy came up the St. Lawrence by land, by sea and in the air . . . before doing anything to defend ourselves.

I pointed out, in general, the grave danger of invasion.

Now, one or two sentences from my remarks when I continued the debate last Thursday. I referred to the cry about home defence, and in support of what the minister had said, I pointed out that many of the countries of Europe had been invaded by mechanized hordes, that there is no such thing as home defence, that we have to go and meet the foe wherever he is. I had previously called attention to what Mr. Lyttelton, minister of production, had said in New York last November, and to the statement of Mr. Knox at Washington. I quoted statements made by Mr. Churchill in the House of Commons on two occasions as to the grave danger to the North African expedition from lack of escorts, and endeavoured to strengthen the minister in what he had said to the people in Quebec as to the danger to Atlantic and gulf shipping.

I have been a member of this house for many years, and never in my life have I sneered or gibed at anybody. I believe the minister's statement was right that at times there is not the same danger in the gulf as out in the ocean, and all I was urging was that we should have a statement as to our escort strength in the north Atlantic and gulf and the approaches to Canada. If the minister had been good enough to respond to that question a month ago I believe the effects 72537-86

would have been very satisfactory. When the war started I urged the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) to give the utmost information possible to the people. After all, I could have secured this information in the reading room, from our Canadian papers or from American and British publications.

All I want is fair play here. I admit I sometimes take part in debates, but I do so as a member of the opposition, not because I want to-far from it. Since I have been a member of this house I have never indulged in any sneers or gibes or said one word against the armed forces. The present Minister of Pensions and National Health (Mr. Mackenzie) when he was defence minister did do something to strengthen our military forces as did the late Norman Rogers, and I referred to this in my speech on March 10 and 11 on rearmament.

I am here for one object only. I am not a yes man or a nodder. While the war is on I shall support the government as long as they are the government and provided they make a total war effort, but I intend to do my duty no matter if I suffer from doing so.

May I say in conclusion that I think the remark of the minister was most unfair. However, I will let it go; I do not wish to have any run-in with the minister. I never met him in my life until he came to the house. I think that yesterday was a day he might have left an Irishman alone, since he is grand master of the knights of Scotland.

Topic:   REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENCE FOR NAVAL SERVICES IN DEBATE ON MARCH 17
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THE RED CROSS

QUESTION AS TO CONTRIBUTIONS OP WESTERN FARMERS IN THE FORM OF WHEAT


On the orders of the day:


PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. G. DIEFENBAKER (Lake Centre):

I wish to address to the Minister of Trade and Commerce a question which has to do with the current Red Cross campaign, namely, whether the government will give consideration to allowing farmers in the prairie provinces who wish to contribute to the Red Cross to do so by making deliveries for the purpose outside of the quotas now fixed for the delivery of wheat.

Topic:   THE RED CROSS
Subtopic:   QUESTION AS TO CONTRIBUTIONS OP WESTERN FARMERS IN THE FORM OF WHEAT
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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Hon. J. A. MacKINNON (Minister of Trade and Commerce):

The hon. member for Lake Centre was kind enough to give me notice that he intended to ask this question. The government has not considered this particular charity but a great deal of consideration was given recently to a request on behalf of another charity in a similar campaign. The whole matter is tied up with the wheat quota existing in connection

Rural Mail Couriers

with farm deliveries in western Canada. The basis of that is to maintain equity between one producer and another; and, particularly this year, when there is such a lack of transportation and storage, our difficulties would be greatly augmented if we decided to accept quantities of grain over the quota.

Topic:   THE RED CROSS
Subtopic:   QUESTION AS TO CONTRIBUTIONS OP WESTERN FARMERS IN THE FORM OF WHEAT
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PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. DIEFENBAKER:

It is assumed that about a million bushels would be donated.

Topic:   THE RED CROSS
Subtopic:   QUESTION AS TO CONTRIBUTIONS OP WESTERN FARMERS IN THE FORM OF WHEAT
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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON:

Well, the greater the return in the campaign, the more generous the response, the greater the difficulty would be for those administering the wheat quota system. As a matter of fact there would be a direct detrimental effect to the other producers in the west.

Topic:   THE RED CROSS
Subtopic:   QUESTION AS TO CONTRIBUTIONS OP WESTERN FARMERS IN THE FORM OF WHEAT
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RURAL MAIL COURIERS

STATEMENT OP POSTMASTER GENERAL AS TO STATUS AND COMPENSATION


On the orders of the day:


LIB

William Pate Mulock (Postmaster General)

Liberal

Hon. W. P. MULOCK (Postmaster General):

The hon. member for Peterborough West (Mr. Fraser) has asked if I would make a statement to the house dealing with representations by the rural mail couriers' organizations, relating to permanency of appointment, basic salaries and allowances, as well as cost-of-living bonuses.

The hon. member's statement that representations had been made by rural mail couriers' organizations relating to permanency of appointment, basic salaries and cost of living bonuses, is correct. Action has already been taken under order in council P.C. 8490 of 31st October, 1941, to grant a bonus of five per cent to all mail contractors whose contracts were awarded on tenders dated on or before the 29th April, 1941, in accordance with section 66 of the Post Office Act, or whose contracts involving an annual expenditure of less than $200 were made in accordance with section 73 of the Post Office Act at rates determined on or before the 29th April, 1941, with the proviso that the increase shall apply only to payments made for work performed as from the 1st August, 1941.

On the question of permanency of appointment for rural mail couriers, which was one of the points raised by the hon. member for Peterborough West, I would advise hon. members that there are two serious objections to any such change being made at the present time.

The first objection is that if all the present mail couriers were given permanency, all men now serving in the armed forces of Canada

would be automatically deprived of the opportunity of obtaining mail contracts for many years to come.

The second serious objection is that such a proposal presupposes that all the present couriers are the most suitable couriers obtainable. As a matter of fact, the present couriers secured their positions because they underbid the previous contractors under a tender system which they now criticize.

On the question of basic salaries, which is another point raised, payment is sought on a flat mileage basis rather than as a result of public tenders. The objection to this suggestion arises from the fact that no two mail routes can be regarded as identical. Road conditions, number of boxes and way post offices to be served, severity of weather conditions and hours of service, all vary to such an extent as to make the determination of a fair uniform mileage rate for the whole dominion impractical.

The whole question of mail contract procedure is constantly under review, and while it is admitted that the tender system may lead to the completion of some contracts at rates too low for the work involved, largely because the tenderer failed to make a proper estimate of costs, the difficulty is, no alternative procedure has as yet been advanced which under ordinary conditions would be any more equitable to all concerned. Wartime conditions, however, have in a number of cases, resulted in greatly enhanced expenditures by the contractor, unforeseen when the original contract was signed. These may be adjusted while war-time conditions exist, but no general change in the existing procedure is contemplated at the present time.

Topic:   RURAL MAIL COURIERS
Subtopic:   STATEMENT OP POSTMASTER GENERAL AS TO STATUS AND COMPENSATION
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THE BUDGET

DEBATE ON THE FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF THE MINISTER OF FINANCE


The house resumed from Wednesday, March 17, consideration of the motion of Hon. J. L. Ilsley (Minister of Finance) that Mr. Speaker do now leave the chair for the house to go into committee of ways and means, and the amendment thereto of Mr. Blackmore, and the amendment to the amendment of Mr. Coldwell.


March 18, 1943