December 4, 1945

LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

No. The negotiations at Washington are not trad? negotiations; they are financial negotiations. We had no observer present. We were not there because we were not invited to be there. Those were financial negotiations btween two countries, just as we are carrying on negotiations, on a much smaller scale, of course, with other countries at which we have no other observers present.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HACKETT:

If we can rely upon the press, those negotiations involved trade. In any event it is astonishing to most people who know of the close relationship which has existed between Britain, the United States and Canada, to learn that we were not present at negotiations which may have a far-reaching effect upon our trade and our whole economic welfare. The hon. member for Vancouver East suggested that inasmuch as Canada is an autonomous country there was no reason for its being present at negotiations between two other autonomous countries. Well, that is a general proposition which may be defended in a general way.

I submit that when the relationship is that which has existed between this country and Great Britain, when we have pledged our future in support of a trade upon which our very lifeblood depends, it is not satisfactory to learn that these negotiations have been

Export Credits Insurance

going on without our knowledge and may be terminated to our utter detriment and undoing.

Does the minister not consider that Canada's interests are such that it should be intimated to the high contracting parties that we should be heard before any definite conclusions are arrived at? If we cannot export our wares, if we cannot export our wheat, then truly a blight will fall on the prosperity and welfare of this country. Our friends to my left, the hon. member for Vancouver East and the hon. member for Acadia, make some reference to the principles to which they give adherence. That is their right and privilege, but the world at the present time is organized under a different system, and for the present-

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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CCF

Angus MacInnis

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

Mr. MacINNIS:

The world at the present time is not organized at all.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HACKETT:

It is possible that we

may be on the fringe of chaos, but that is no reason to find fault with those who are attempting to redeem us from that situation. When there is in the offing a trade treaty which may upset the welfare, the prosperity and the influence of Canada, Canada should be represented when the negotiations are in progress. We hear so much about friendship, we hear so much about community of interest throughout the world, and yet if we are to believe the press, negotiations which may be vital to our existence have been going on in the capital of a friendly power between friendly powers and allies, and we are not consulted. There has been an oversight somewhere. I am inclined to place the blame on the doorstep of the government whose privilege and duty it is to watch over the destiny and welfare of Canada.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Air. ILSLEY:

Mr. Chairman, there has been no oversight whatever on the part of the government. Canada's views with regard to trade are well known. They are well known as the result, of public statements by this government and they are well known as a result of representations made to the British government, of which I think the United States government is well aware. I want to emphasize what I said before. These negotiations that are going on in Washington are financial negotiations.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. MACDONNELL (Muskoka-Ontario):

Will the minister deny that while they may have started as financial negotiations they went on and became trade negotiations? I was credibly informed, and I think it was stated in the press, that subsequent to the .beginning of the financial negotiations British trade experts had been brought out.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I do not know whether that is so or not, but I am satisfied that no trade negotiations of any consequence in which Canada has an interest will go on without Canada being a participant. We have no power to bore our way into discussions between the United States and the United Kingdom. Australia has the same right that we have; South Africa has the same right; New Zealand has the same right; many other countries have exactly the same rights. Those autonomous dominions which are part of the sterling area, I was going to say had a greater interest financially in the negotiations than we have. This is not a conference of a number of nations; it is financial negotiations between the United Kingdom and the United States.

With regard to our trade views, with regard to the desirability of multilateralism as contrasted with bilateralism, the desirability of keeping world tariffs low and of eliminating or avoiding the imposition of quotas and embargoes and exchange controls which prevent the flow of trade, our position has been stated repeatedly to the United Kingdom, both to delegations that came here and publicly. The . delegation that went to Washington came to Ottawa first. We cannot properly do anything more than we are doing at the present time.

There may be a lot of nervous people around who are afraid that the United Kingdom is going to sell us down the river. I do not expect that they will, but if they do, then we shall have to adapt ourselves to that situation. We cannot run around outside a closed door down therd clamouring to be let in to say something about a deal that is being made between the United Kingdom and the United States.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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PC

John Thomas Hackett

Progressive Conservative

Mr. HACKETT:

The door should not be closed.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

Let us consider what our position is. We have to act with a fair measure of self-respect and dignity in these matters, and with some regard to usage and propriety.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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LIB

Robert William Gladstone

Liberal

Air. GLADSTONE:

Mr. Chairman, I think it might be helpful if we changed the setting at Washington just for a moment. Suppose this conference were between Russia and the United States. Would either of those countries look with favour upon Brazil or China or Canada or South Africa or any other country sitting in on their conference? It does not seem to me that Canada is in any different position with respect to this present

Export Credits Insurance

conference than if the conference were between the United States and any other country.

Referring to one other aspect of the situation that has been dealt with, namely, this credit of $750,000,000, I rather view it in this way. Supposing a private individual who was in difficulty and hard circumstances arranged a loan from a friend. It would not be expected that that loan would be paid back immediately. The loan would be made for the purpose of tiding him over for a period. Then when he had recovered himself through his own efforts he might be able to resume repayments. This is exactly what our attitude should be with respect to the credits we grant at this time, not only to Great Britain and France but to various other countries. We should not expect that they will be able to give us goods immediately in return for the goods we supply them. As they are able to rebuild themselves in the years to come we hope that they will be able to repay the loan, either in goods or in cash. I simply suggest that this is a measure which will help out those nations in the meantime. We all realize that the future welfare of the world depends upon the prosperity not only of our own nation but of all other nations.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

I do not think that any member of the house said that the credits should be paid back at once, as suggested by the hon. member-none in this group anyway; far from it.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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LIB

Robert William Gladstone

Liberal

Mr. GLADSTONE:

Not in your group, but it was suggested in another part of the house that almost immediately we should receive goods in return for*our exports.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

I think the main concern at the present time is that we protect the interests of the Canadian worker and farmer. That is what we have to think about, in granting these loans to other countries. But I rose to ask a question. On November 22 I asked the following question of the Minister of Trade and Commerce:

I should like to ask a question of the Minister of Trade and Commerce based on what Premier Attlee said when he was here on Monday, namely, that it was not true that His Majesty's government in Great Britain had told the Canadian government that Canada could do business with the United Kingdom and the sterling area only if they erected plants there. I would ask what information the Department of Trade and .Commerce has ' in regard to the United Kingdom refusing to grant import licences to ship Canadian goods to the United Kingdom.

I think this question should be answered before we dispose of this bill. That is the way I feel about it.

Mr. MacIvINNON: I stated in reply that certain representations were being made by this government to the United Kingdom government. That has been done but so far we have received no reply. When we receive the information I shall be able to make a statement to the house.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

On November 23, the following day, the minister said:

I wish to advise the house that at the very earliest opportunity I intend to make a statement on the question raised by the hon. member for Peterborough West, which is attracting a great deal of attention not only in the house but throughout Canada generally. More completely to inform the house upon the situation, certain communications are being carried on, and just as soon as they can be brought to finality I propose to make a statement to the house.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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LIB

James Angus MacKinnon (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. MacKINNON:

That is still the

situation.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

I think the minister will agree that it is important that we should have a definite understanding with Great Britain before this bill goes through. I personally suggest that we pass only part of the bill now and let the rest stand over until next session.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. ILSLEY:

I have tried repeatedly to make it clear that we do not intend to use this bill for the purpose of making loans to Great Britain. I do not see why the hon. gentleman connects the two matters.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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PC

Gordon Knapman Fraser

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FRASER:

The reason I connect them is this. If we do not know where we stand with Great Britain, we certainly do not know where we stand with any other country.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FULTON:

I wish to refer to a question I raised yesterday after the minister had made a general statement op the resolution and intimated that it was not contemplated to use the extended provisions of this act to conclude agreements within the sterling area. I asked the minister if he would state or give the house some indication of what he had in mind with regard to restoring trade relations between Canada and other empire countries exclusive of Great Britain. I had in mind particularly Australia and New Zealand. The minister in his statement had made a reference to India. This whole question is tied up closely, I feel, with the discussion which has taken place here this morning on the economic negotiations between the United Kingdom and the United States. The minister attempted to make the point that Canada should not be running around outside a closed door, and he said that Australia and New Zealand had not asked to be included in those negotiations.

Export Credits Insurance

But Canada is in an entirely different position from Australia and New Zealand, which are in the sterling bloc. Canada, while not definitely tied to the dollar bloc, has largely a dollar economy, but at the same time we are very much concerned in and closely allied with the sterling bloc, and I think we should be consulted. As the hon. member for Mus-koka-Ontario has said, if we are not consulted we should make our views known in the negotiations that are being carried on between the sterling bloc and the dollar bloc, because we are in a peculiar dual position. The minister put us in a wrong position when he said that we should not run around outside a closed door. Neither Britain nor the United States would put us in that position; indeed it exists only in the minister's mind. He should give a fair answer to the representations that have been made on this subject.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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PC

Harry Rutherford Jackman

Progressive Conservative

Mr. JACKMAN:

This bill is of great importance. In involves $650,000,000, in addition to the $100,000,000 already set up under the Export Credits Insurance Act. That $650,000,000 is an amount larger than our total pre-war budget, and yet this measure comes up for consideration late in the session and we are expected to pass upon it in very short order. It is impossible in such a short time, or by the methods at present adopted, to give matters of this financial magnitude the consideration they deserve.

The minister said that the Washington conference was largely a financial conference. 'Finance is but the bookkeeping of trade, and if we are to believe the many dispatches which have appeared in the newspapers in regard to the conference, now long drawn out, in Washington between the British and the Americans, trade certainly has entered into their discussions in- very large measure. As the hon. member for Kamloops and the hon. member for Muskoka-Ontario have said, we in Canada are in a peculiar position, because, while not of the sterling area but more largely of the dollar area, we are greatly concerned with the ability of the sterling area to take our goods and to pay for them with goods in return.

Some statements have been made in-regard to whether or not we should have bilateral or multilateral trade. I believe what we need in this country is trade, and whether we get it under one form or another is not of particular concern. What we need is the ability to make goods, to provide jobs for our people, and to have those goods bought and paid for by other countries where necessary and that we get something in return. One thing we have surely learned in the last twenty-five years is

that we cannot receive money in return. The only way that a foreign country can pay for Canadian goods is by our taking goods in return, although that may not be by a pure bilateral process but through a three-cornered movement or otherwise.

Mention has also been made of the fact that perhaps Canada could use some of the labour and materials which will go into the export of goods which will be financed for the time being through this act by using these goods for our own needs. I believe in foreign trade; Canada, as the fourth largest foreign trader in the world, must rely to a large extent upon that means, for our whole economy -our food economy particularly-and our natural resources must find an outlet for the time being in other great population centres of the world, and we must rely therefore on foreign trade; yet foreign trade is never the equal of domestic trade. If we can build up domestic trade, trade which we can to some extent control, we are much better off. Let us make no mistake 'about the bill now before us. It is to finance trade largely with countries outside the sterling area which have been the largest consumers of our products, and which have bought far more from us than we have ever bought from them; yet they were able to balance their accounts through their other world trading. If there are at the present time unsatisfied needs of the Canadian people, and we are now suggesting that we should develop exports in certain directions, and we do not know whether those exports will be of a permanent nature or whether this measure is a mere stop-gap, let us carefully consider in this committee whether or not some of the man-power and materials which would go to the furnishing of these goods might not be better applied, not only in the short run but in the long run, to the production of more housing in this country, to satisfy more of the needs of the people of Canada, and to raising their standard of living.

As I have said, domestic trade is infinitely better than foreign trade. We of course must rely to a large extent on foreign trade, but where we can put the emphasis on domestic trade let us do it rather than encourage stop-gap foreign trade, if that is what this should be.

To revert to my original topic, while we may not have been invited to sit in or to be a partner in the British-American conference at present going on in Washington, and we cannot demand entrance, yet I believe that if suitable representations were made we would not find the door so closed that we should not know what was going on there. The discussions have a most direct bearing on the future

Export Credits Insurance

of this country and on jobs for our people. If we are to grant large credits to foreign countries to take our goods for the time being, what are we to get in return? Shall we obtain any assurances that they will give us longterm trading agreements to take certain of our export surpluses, or are we simply going to find, after we have given them a certain amount to tide over the present time, that we have accomplished nothing, whereas we might have been satisfying the wants of our own people?

I point out that this bill is not, as is the UNRRA bill, a contribution for the relief of distressed areas in Europe. This, as I understand it, is purely a business bill having to do with trade relationships. If we find that we cannot export so much of our present and pre-war surpluses as formerly, it will be necessary gradually, and with as little hardship as possible, to reorientate our own economy and provide more things which our own people can use, rather than continue to have these great export surpluses which we now have in certain commodities.

It is very difficult for us, with all the duties we have as members of this house, to give to this measure the consideration to which it is entitled. I believe that we must apply ourselves to this problem, because of the incursion of parliament and government into the activities of the people, their daily lives and their whole economy depending upon government action to some extent, for direction at least. How different that is from the old days, when everyone believed that the less governments had to do with business the better. Now, every party in any parliamentary system has taken upon itself the responsibility for job creation and for the prosperity of the country. We must realize that our duties have changed in nature, and it is about time we changed our methods of procedure. We cannot possibly give this measure the consideration it requires if we are to do it in the formal body of a committee of the house or in the house itself. We must adopt more of the United States system of committees, if you like-perhaps not in its extended form; but we must be able to have before us those who are experts on these particular subjects, those who attend conferences with other nations with whom we aj-e dealing, so that we may have a fair idea of what all the implications are and not just hit the high spots, which often is as much as is done in the house upon the most important measures. I would therefore suggest to the minister that consideration be given to bringing these matters before a suitable committee so that full representations may be

made before that body, and adequate knowledge may be had before we come in this house to discuss such important measures.

Topic:   EXPORT CREDITS INSURANCE ACT
Subtopic:   INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF LOANS AND VALUE OF SECURITIES HELD UNDER SECTION 22
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December 4, 1945