June 15, 1950

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

What my hon. friend is asking is why the purchase of defence supplies requires any powers whatever, other than the power to make the purchase. I think that is wha't he has in mind. He speaks of new powers, but there are no new powers contained in this bill. I wish he would see eye to eye with me on that, because as a matter of fact the powers contained in this bill have been in the legislation under which the appropriate minister has been operating, and they are the only authority he has or has had for defence purchasing.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

You mean the Department of

Munitions and Supply Act?

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Yes. Let us say we will depend upon the ordinary purchasing technique, and place a contract for a very urgent unit of defence. The position will be like any contract placed by the Department of Public Works or any other department; there is no way to compel delivery on time. Perhaps my hon. friend is not as familiar with government purchasing as I am, but I can assure him that there is a tendency on the part of contractors to feel that the government is a very good and kind client and will not be too rough if he does not finish on time, whereas the same contractor may have a private buyer who is pretty rough, so he will do the last mentioned job first. In other words the government is apt to take second place to private contractors if we do not have this power to demand priority. The same situation exists with respect to supplies. At the moment supplies are fairly easy and this legislation probably would not be needed at this time. If this market tightens up much more, however, it may be very difficult to carry out defence purchases unless we have the power to requisition raw materials.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I am interested in what the minister has just said, and I took down his words. He said probably the legislation would not be needed at this time; is that right?

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Yes.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I want to be sure I am quite correct. In other words the minister tells us that what was railroaded through yesterday is not necessary at this time. We told him yesterday that when we were satisfied there was an emergency and it became necessary we would be prepared to vote for it.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, my hon. friend speaks of railroading. He seems to think that when anything is put through the house with which he does not agree, it is railroaded. As I remember the vote on second reading of this bill it was 127 in favour of the bill and 44 against. Is that railroading, or is that the will of the majority of the members of this house?

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ross (Souris):

It is the will of the

government whip.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I think the

minister is quite right, and I will take back that word. I will say it was passed.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I appreciate that.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

I come back to the first point. The minister has said this is not necessary at this time, but I need not go over that again; as he says, the bill was given second reading yesterday. However, I do want to comment on the answer just given by the minister in which he said government contracts might be left until the last, and just completed when it was convenient. My comment on that would be, first, that I do not believe and I do not think anyone else in this house believes that anyone contracting or dealing with the Minister of Trade and Commerce would be inclined to proceed in that way, because the minister is a fairly forceful fellow, and he has a good deal of power. The second point, which I want to make as strongly as I can, is that if it were clear that the requirement of the minister was in connection with national defence, nothing would make me believe that there would be the difficulty which the minister represents. I want to repeat, and I hope the house will take note of the fact, that the minister says this legislation is probably not needed at the present time but that it may be needed at some future time. At some future time we would have been ready to vote for it, when it was needed.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Let me straighten out that

matter. I said the power to demand priority is needed at the present time. I said the power to requisition probably is not needed at the moment, but that we are moving into a tighter market and it might be needed at any time.

Defence Supplies

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

I should like to know who, if anyone, might be called upon to substitute for the minister in handling these matters.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

If a substitute is needed it will be the Acting Minister of Trade and Commerce appointed by the Prime Minister for that purpose.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

The Acting Minister of Trade and Commerce?

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Yes.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

I can tell the minister that I have had unpleasant experiences with the Canadian Commercial Corporation, and I wondered if that corporation would have anything to do with it.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

The Canadian Commercial

Corporation assists the minister in carrying out the provisions of this act, but the minister has the responsibility.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

I know that, but my complaint is that we do not know the salaries paid to the officials of crown companies. I should like to have a chart showing the salaries and functions of the various officials of the Canadian Commercial Corporation as well as other crown companies. I am not an opponent of the government; I am a supporter of it. During the war and since, it has always been my stand in the house that the salaries paid these officials should be made known. We vote the money here, and we want to know how it is spent. These gentlemen may or may not be good, but at least we should know the amount that is paid to them by way of salary, or whatever it is called, and the amount that is paid for their travelling expenses.

I did receive a chart of another crown company showing the names of the personnel and their functions, but not their salaries. Why is it impossible to obtain that information? As a member of parliament representing a constituency in Canada I believe that all the members should be informed as to the amounts paid to civil servants, high or low.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink
SC

Solon Earl Low

Social Credit

Mr. Low:

And presidents and past presidents of railways.

Topic:   DEFENCE SUPPLIES
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR PURCHASE OR ACQUISITION, STORING OF MATERIALS, ETC.
Permalink

June 15, 1950