February 18, 1947


On the orders of the day:


PC

John Bracken (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. JOHN BRACKEN (Leader of the Opposition):

I should like to direct a question to the Minister of Labour. Have representations been made to him or to other members of the government with respect to a serious unemployment situation which is developing in Halifax? If so, what action is proposed to be taken by the government?

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT IN HALIFAX
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LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (Minister of Labour):

I have no knowledge whatsoever of any communication from any organization or government authority in Halifax with reference to the question my hon. friend has asked. I can assure him that I will have members of the employment service of the Department of Labour look into the matter.

Topic:   LABOUR CONDITIONS
Subtopic:   UNEMPLOYMENT IN HALIFAX
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COAL MINERS' STRIKE IN THE MARITIME PROVINCES


On the orders of the day:


LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (Minister of Labour):

Yesterday the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) asked for a break-down of the number of men employed on the face of the coal seam in comparison with the total number of men employed in the collieries owned by the Dominion Steel and Coal Corporation Limited. The figures for the years, which are the years for which I quoted yesterday the per capita production figures, are as follows: Producers

(Handcutters and helpers, machine cutters and helpers, machine loaders and helpers)

1939 3,322

1944 2,155

1945 2,332

1946 2,815

Non-producers

1939 (including salaried employees) 11,370

1944 10,517

1945 10,601

1946 11,350

These figures were taken from the records of the dominion bureau of statistics.

Topic:   COAL MINERS' STRIKE IN THE MARITIME PROVINCES
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MILITIA ACT

AMENDMENTS TO FACILITATE CANADIAN ARMY REORGANIZATION


Hon. BROOKE CLAXTON (Minister of National Defence) moved the third reading of Bill No. 14, to amend the Militia Act. Motion agreed to on division, and bill read the third time and passed.



Trading with the Enemy


TRADING WITH THE ENEMY

EMERGENCY POWERS-DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY, ETC.


Hon. COLIN GIBSON (Secretary of State) moved that the house go into committee to consider the following resolution: That it is expedient to introduce a measure to provide for the continuance of certain of the regulations respecting trading with the enemy, following the time fixed for the expiry of the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945, and for implementing provisions in any treaty which may be executed on behalf of Canada and ratified by parliament with respect to the disposition of enemy property or compensation respecting property in enemy territory.


PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

I understood it was the intention of the Secretary of State to make a statement with respect to this measure. If he would care to make it now there are some remarks I should like to make concerning it.

Topic:   TRADING WITH THE ENEMY
Subtopic:   EMERGENCY POWERS-DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY, ETC.
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LIB

Colin William George Gibson (Secretary of State of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. GIBSON (Hamilton West):

The bill referred to in this resolution provides for the continuance of certain regulations that are considered to be essential for the proper control of enemy property and trading with the enemy. At the outbreak of war certain regulations were passed under the provisions of the War Measures Act, which regulations were continued later under the powers of the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945.

Since the end of the war some of these regulations are no longer required and they have been dispensed with, but those that are included in the bill are considered to be essential and will be required at least until after peace treaties have been entered into with the enemy countries and possibly for some time thereafter.

Mr. DONALD M. FLEMING (Eglinton): Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to embark on any speculation in connection with this resolution. Until the house actually sees the contents of the bill I do not know that one could go very far into the measure, especially in the light of the scant statement appearing on the order paper and the very brief statement the Secretary of State has just given to the house.

There are two aspects of the measure to be introduced upon which I should like to comment. The first has to do with the continuance of certain regulations now in existence. The second apparently will have to do with giving certain powers to the minister and perhaps through him to the custodian of enemy property, to deal with the situation which may arise out of treaties of peace which have

not yet been ratified by parliament but which presumably will be submitted to parliament in due course for ratification.

Certain amendments have already been made to these regulations, and many more will be necessary; but I take the position now that the minister will have to submit to the house a measure which will provide for greatly restricted powers as compared with those in the present trading with the enemy regulations if he expects the measure to be endorsed by this chamber. It may be that vast powers were required during the time of war to meet the serious situation that the Secretary of State and the custodian of enemy property were called upon to meet in the protection of the realm and of the rights of the realm in time of war. But there are powers in these present regulations which I submit no self-respecting parliament can permit to be continued in time of peace.

It is regrettable, to say the least in fact it is one of the many indictments of this government-that in the period since the trading with the enemy regulations came into effect there has been no report by the custodian of enemy property dealing with the conduct of his office. This has been one of those vast unknown areas which have been allowed to exist within the government during and since the war. Whatever has been done under the terms of the trading with the enemy regulations since 1939 has been a matter of mystery. This is 1947; seven and a half years have passed since the trading with the enemy regulations first came into effect. There has not yet been given to the parliament of Canada any report on the operations of the custodian of enemy property or the administration under these regulations of the powers given to him by the Secretary of State. This chamber must, I submit, be given a comprehensive report of all operations under the powers given by these regulations before we should be called upon to extend any powers to the Secretary of State or to the custodian of enemy property under the terms of the resolution. The powers sought are of the most sweeping kind. I wonder whether the house fully realizes the extent of these vast powers which were conferred on the Secretary of State and through him by regulation on the custodian of enemy property. Take No. 7, for instance, which reads:

No person has any rights or remedies and no action lies or may be brought against any person-

Topic:   TRADING WITH THE ENEMY
Subtopic:   EMERGENCY POWERS-DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY, ETC.
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but we have before us now a resolution and I understand that according

Trading with the Enemy

to the standing orders of the house it is in order for an hon. member to discuss the merits of the resolution, which reads as follows:

That it is expedient to introduce a measure to provide for the continuance of certain of the regulations respecting trading with the enemy, following the time fixed for the expiry of the National Emergency Transitional Powers Act, 1945, and for implementing provisions in any treaty which may be executed on behalf of Canada and ratified by parliament with respect to the disposition of enemy property or compensation respecting property in enemy territory.

I do not say that the hon, member is out of order but I would suggest that every member discuss only the merits of the resolution now before the: house. It will be their privilege in committee on the bill to discuss the different clauses and to ask questions of the minister, but I suggest that discussion now should be confined to the merits of the resolution.

Topic:   TRADING WITH THE ENEMY
Subtopic:   EMERGENCY POWERS-DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY, ETC.
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PC

Gordon Graydon

Progressive Conservative

Mr. GRAYDON:

What if the resolution has no merit, Mr. Speaker?

Topic:   TRADING WITH THE ENEMY
Subtopic:   EMERGENCY POWERS-DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY, ETC.
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

I made it quite clear at the outset that I did not intend to go into the realm of speculation as to the contents of the bill, but when the minister asks the house to pass a resolution contemplating the continuance in peace time of certain regulations I respectfully submit, Mr. Speaker, that I am entitled to refer to some of the regulations, not in detail, but to illustrate their extent and to put the question squarely before the house whether these regulations are of a kind which ought to be continued in time of peace. That is the question I am putting before the house. Are regulations of the kind exemplified by No. 7 such as the house wishes to see embodied in a peacetime measure?

May I refer for the sake of illustration to regulation No. 7. I do not intend, Mr. Speaker, to discuss the details of this regulation, but I do hope that the house will realize the sweeping nature of these regulations some of which it is being asked to put into statutory form.

Regulation No. 7 reads:

(1) No person has any rights or remedies and no action lies or may be brought against any person in respect of:

(a) an act or omission that was required by the Secretary of State or custodian;

(b) an act or omission that the person acting in good faith reasonably believed to have been required by these regulations or any regulations heretofore in force with respect to trading with the enemy or enemy property; or

(c) property transferred, delivered or paid to the Secretary of State or custodian or pursuant to his direction either before or after these regulations came into force.

(2) No person shall bring, take or continue against an enemy in any court in Canada an

action or other proceeding of any kind whatsoever unless such person has obtained the written consent of the custodian.

Citing that as an illustration I am asking whether the house is prepared to see continued in statutory form such sweeping powers as these.

It is worth recalling too, Mr. Speaker, that this question directly applies to the recent statement issued by the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) with respect to the disposal of the property in Canada of persons of Japanese origin. The statement that was issued by the Prime Minister last month-

Topic:   TRADING WITH THE ENEMY
Subtopic:   EMERGENCY POWERS-DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY, ETC.
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LIB

James Horace King (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. SPEAKER:

I am sorry to interrupt

the hon. member, but I do not think he should discuss at this stage specific questions such as the Japanese question. What is before the house now is a resolution to permit the Secretary of State to introduce a bill. It is in order for hon. members to discuss the principle of the resolution, and it will be their privilege in committee of the whole on the bill to discuss the various clauses and ask questions of the minister. But I do not think that as Speaker I should permit any member to go into details now and discuss, for instance, the Japanese question. I am only the voice of the members; my only desire is to apply the rules and to help hon. members, but I do not think I should permit any hon. member to go into details such as the Japanese question. I would ask the hon. gentleman to discuss only the principle of the resolution which is before the house.

Topic:   TRADING WITH THE ENEMY
Subtopic:   EMERGENCY POWERS-DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY, ETC.
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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FLEMING:

With great respect, Mr. Speaker, what I was proposing to do was to relate the statement of the Prime Minister, with reference to the disposition of Japanese property in Canada which has been in the hands of the custodian of enemy property, to the resolution which is before the house.

Topic:   TRADING WITH THE ENEMY
Subtopic:   EMERGENCY POWERS-DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY, ETC.
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February 18, 1947