April 18, 1947

LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

I do hope hon. members will cooperate in regard to these items. The committee is now considering only the matter of the importation of anthracite coal into Canada and a continuation of its exemption from customs duty. We can get through these items in an orderly fashion if we deal with them one at a time.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BROOKS:

I do not think this is a very serious item as far as the situation in the maritime provinces is concerned. Frankly I had hoped that this afternoon there might be a discussion of the coal situation in the maritime provinces, and that we might hear something from the government as to the action it intended to take to solve that serious difficulty. This item is only a matter of reducing the cost of a ton of coal by about 50 cents, and as I say, I do not think that is very serious. But we have a very serious situation in the maritimes.

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LIB
PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BROOKS:

Well, now, Mr. Chairman, so far this afternoon everyone has discussed this question to some extent.

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

Order. It is a well known rule that speeches in committee must be relevant to the item under discussion. Anything the hon. member has to say in connection with this particular item is quite in order, but it is not in order to discuss other matters.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BROOKS:

I have listened to those who have spoken so far this afternoon, and I do not think one hon. member has made a speech strictly relevant to this particular item. I am simply claiming the right other hon. members have exercised.

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

Then I want to appeal to the hon. member to set a good example and keep his remarks relevant to the item.

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PC

Alfred Johnson Brooks

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BROOKS:

Well, Mr. Chairman, I have something to say on this which I can reserve until another occasion.

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FULTON:

I should like to ask a question on a different matter, since I think this question is bound to arouse discussion every time it comes up. Would it not be more appropriate if this item were made an amendment to the customs tariff rather than left under an emergency order in council? Is that not the proper way to deal with a question of this kind; and is it contemplated that an amendment will be made in this year's budget to take care of the situation?

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

We are discussing emergency legislation; it is not the purpose to determine permanent policy. The proper place to deal with that

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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. FULTON:

But this has been the policy since 1942. If it is to be continued in future, as would appear to be likely, I am only asking whether it would not be necessary to continue it by way of amendment to the customs tariff. .

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LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Reconstruction and Supply)

Liberal

Mr. HOWE:

Quite so. If any permanent change is contemplated in the duty, it should be made by an item in the tariff. This policy has been in operation for the past several years, and it is not intended to remove this exemption at the moment. I should not like

Emergency Powers

anyone to infer that it will be continued throughout the full year; it may be taken off a.t any time, like any other emergency legislation. It is being continued as emergency legislation because no decision has been reached as to its permanency.

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland); I am sorry this discussion has been unduly curtailed, Mr. Chairman, but as far as I can I want to comply ' with your ruling on this very important subject. In the main I am in agreement with the hon. member for Cape Breton South. I am in favour of the retention of this order in council, which is applicable to a limited importation of anthracite coal, at least until the termination of the strike. In any case it is not a very important item. The question of a fuel policy for this country was raised some years ago, and at that time a duty was placed upon imported anthracite. Under this order in council that duty has been cancelled, and I presume that policy will remain operative until this order in council is terminated. There is also the question of subventions, and the matter of subsidies on coke. In that connection I agree with the hon. member for Cape Breton South and to some extent disagree with the hon. member for St. John-Albert. I believe our native fuel and the coke made therefrom to some extent is in competition with anthracite coal imported into this country. Some years ago the federal government gave assistance by way of subsidy on the production of coke containing a percentage of Nova Scotia coal, and to a certain extent that coke replaced anthracite coal imported into this country. I am going to agree to the retention of this order in council on behalf of the consumers, householders and industries, who are the forgotten factors, in the maritime provinces, though it affects them to only a limited extent.

There are three parties concerned in the production and use of coal, and one of these is the miner. I am in sympathy with the desire of the miners to obtain the wage recommended by the Carroll report but I regret that they did not take my advice, go back to work and sit around a table to see whether production could not be increased. I am in disagreement with the hon. member for Cape Breton South because he advocated that they do not go back to work.

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

Order. I think the hon. member for Royal appreciated the fact that he did not keep to the point at issue, and I would appeal to the hon. member who now has the floor to follow the lead set by the hon. member for Royal and deal with the specific item before the committee.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

The hon. member just stated that I recommended in the present dispute that the men do not go back to work.

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?

Some hon. MEMBERS:

Order.

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

That statement is absolutely incorrect, and I have the right to correct it. There is no place, either on or off the record, where I made any recommendation either for or against that. That is not my business.

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LIB

William Henry Golding (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The DEPUTY CHAIRMAN:

Is the hon. member speaking on a question of privilege?

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CCF

Clarence Gillis

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

Mr. GILLIS:

Yes, I am speaking on a question of privilege with respect to the statement that has been made. That is not my business; that is the business of the union and the industry. I spoke merely on the merits or demerits of the dispute, and I stated my opinion. I never have believed in strikes and I did everything I could to solve this one, but what they do is entirely their business.

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PC

Percy Chapman Black

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BLACK (Cumberland):

On a question of privilege and replying to the hon. member, I should like to quote a few lines from his speech.

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CCF

April 18, 1947