March 2, 1951

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

I may say to him that no standard specification for rifles has yet been adopted by the United Nations. Great Britain and the United States have not been able to agree on the calibre of the weapon or on the type of ammunition. Canada wished to tool up for rifles, although we have a good

stock of the British type and there are plenty of the United States type available from United States sources, but we naturally were reluctant to tool up for a weapon that did not represent a standard recognized by the United Nations. A committee has just recently been appointed, and its first task will be to decide the question of what will be the standard weapon for the United Nations.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, I think that statement is a very important one in relation to the work that is to be done by this department. I think it is important that there be some explanation to the house by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Claxton) of why he announced publicly two years ago that the decision had been made to adopt the United States calibre when we are now told by the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) that no decision has yet been made. This is the very sort of thing that indicates a disregard for the rights of parliament as well as the democratic rights of the people of Canada when no one knows exactly what the facts really are, no matter what statements may be made by supposedly responsible members of the government.

I feel sure that the Minister of Trade and Commerce is stating the facts in this case. I say that, not because I would accept without reservation many of the statements he makes, but in this case I do accept his statement for the simple reason that at the very time he is about to take over his department I am certain he would not wish to create the impression that production has not yet commenced if in fact that decision had already been made. But since the Minister of Trade and Commerce has now made this statement, may I suggest that perhaps there is no decision of more importance awaiting consideration by those who are associated in the Atlantic treaty. I think the minister meant the Atlantic treaty.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Mr. Howe:

Thank you for straightening me out. I did not mean the United Nations.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I realized that. That would have been a difficult problem. We might have had difficulty in getting agreement with the Russians. I realized that the Minister of Trade and Commerce meant the Atlantic powers. It is a very easy slip to make because actually it seems at the moment that the most effective segment of the activities with regard to the European aspect of this problem is related to what is being done under the Atlantic pact. I would point out that it is of immense importance that this decision be made. After all, there are so many members on both sides of the house who know that it is

important for men to become accustomed to the weapon they will be using if they are to be effectively trained as units of any defence force. 1 would hope that this decision will not be long delayed. I know that it has been under consideration for some time and that a decision may not be easy to make, but certainly it is a decision that is very urgently required. We are told now for the first time that no decision was made, and I hope at the first opportunity the Minister of National Defence will explain what he meant when he made the statement which was reported two years ago.

Because we believe that there should be a Department of Defence Production with the appropriate agencies to carry it into effect we will support the principle of the bill on second reading. For reasons which have already been very carefully put forward by the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green), that does not imply acceptance of the details of the bill or of many of the provisions which we regard as entirely out of keeping at this time with the arguments put forward by the government with respect to other measures under consideration, and entirely out of keeping with the attempt that is being made to create the impression in the house that we should not act as though we were yet fully engaged in something of the nature of a general war.

We have indicated our own belief that emphasis should be placed on the fact that the preparations taking place are preparations which we hope will result in peace. We believe, however, that everything should proceed as rapidly as possible but under proper supervision of parliament. In presenting the criticisms which the hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra directed to certain sections of the bill, he made it clear he was hoping that by bringing these criticisms forward in detail at this time the government might consider the advisability of amending many of these sections before we are called upon to deal with the bill in committee, and that the government would voluntarily come before the house and present a bill which in fact retains the responsibility of parliament over the things that are to be done by this defence production board.

Every effort has been made by the government to create the impression that we must not proceed as though we were in a state of war, and with that I agree. The achievement of peace should be the goal towards which anything that we do is directed, but this act is drafted as though we were already in a more terrible war than that in which we became involved in September, 1939. In some respects this act confers more arbitrary

Defence Production Act powers than did the legislation which this government saw fit to introduce during the most terrible war that has been known in all the history of the world. I think it is essential that, in considering the extent to which the bill now goes and why we urge in all earnestness that the government redraft the bill with recognition that we should continue the authority of parliament during a period of an emergency which may extend for long years, we should recognize the arguments that have been put before the people of Canada outside the house by the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) and his associates. For that reason I should like to quote the exact words of the Prime Minister from a speech outside the house, it is true, but here in the city of Ottawa the day before yesterday. I shall quote from the exact text of his speech. At one point he said:

Nothing is easier than to assume that because there is some resemblance between the circumstances of today and the circumstances of eleven or twelve years ago the same course of action is called for.

We must not forget that we are not trying to win the second world war today. Today we are trying to prevent a third world war. That too is going to require a tremendous effort. But it is going to be different in many ways from what we were doing ten or eleven years ago. Some of the things we did then do have to be done again. But other things called for to win a shooting war are completely unsuited to the task of preventing a shooting war.

There the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) was seeking to emphasize the fact that we should not now be called upon in parliament to confer upon the government emergency measures with as wide authority as some of those that were regarded as necessary in that war which began more than ten years ago. Then at a later point in the same speech he had something else to say which I think is worth reading into the record at this point because this speech obviously was intended as a statement to the people of Canada in relation to a subject under consideration in this house. Later on the Prime Minister said:

The most serious domestic problem we face is inflation. That was a serious problem ten years ago and it is a serious problem today. I suppose the consequence of inflation which creates the greatest anxiety for most men and women- especially with families-is the rising cost of living. And the increase in the cost of living is a very real anxiety to the government, too.

Almost ten years ago, the government of the day undertook to keep down the cost of living while the war was on by establishing price ceilings. Our wartime price control policy was an outstanding success. For that very reason it is hard for many people to understand why we are not able to do in 1951 what worked so well after 1941. And you may be sure we would adopt the same policy now if we believed it would really work. But would it? It is true prices were rising in 1941

850 HOUSE OF

Defence Production Act

and they are rising in 1951; but many other conditions in 1951 are very different from those we faced in 1941.

In 1941 the war was on. Our aim was to devote the maximum effort of our people to winning it as quickly as possible. To do that we were cutting out all non-essential activities and distributing the essentials as evenly as possible.

In 1951 we are not in the throes of a shooting war. Our aim today is to build up sufficient military strength to prevent war, and to do it as quickly as we can. But we are not engaged in the kind of total effort which people look upon as appropriate only to an actual shooting war.

May I emphasize those last words. I have read this extended quotation into the record because it indicates the attitude of the government, and we regard that attitude as not facing the full realities in many respects. The government refuse to do some of these other things because they say we should not go so far today; yet when the bill is brought down dealing with the whole economy of Canada, no matter what the purpose may be we find that it actually goes further than did the legislation introduced by this' same government during the course of that most terrible war which ended in 1945.

In the consideration of the emergency powers legislation the Prime Minister sought over and over again to impress upon the house that he would not wish to ask for powers of the type required in actual war. Why, then, does this bill ask for greater powers than were asked by this government in an actual all-out war such a short time ago? I think perhaps the answer to that is to be found in the words of the minister this afternoon, and I quote his exact words: "I have supervised the drafting of this bill." In describing the bill, the minister frankly stated that it contained powers of an extraordinary nature; but, as has been pointed out, there was no explanation as to why those extraordinary powers are required at this time to do the things we all agree should be done, and very quickly. The obvious fact is that the minister sees no reason to explain. The government has a huge majority. The minister decides that this should be done; he obtains the consent of the government, and he knows that the vote will support what is before this house. Consequently the rest of us, and I suppose the members of his party as well, have no need to be told why action of this kind should be taken at this time. Surely in the light of what is before us there can be no other explanation of the fact that powers so wide as these should be required.

It seems to me that for this reason every member of this house should seek to understand what actually is the full effect of this legislation. This bill certainly confers powers which go further than powers parliament should confer upon any government or any

minister without a great deal more explanation than we have had so far. The hon. member for Vancouver-Quadra (Mr. Green) has referred to one extraordinary section relating to these extraordinary powers. That is section 5, which reads:

The minister may authorize any person, on his behalf and under his control and direction, to do any act or thing or to exercise any power that the minister may do or exercise under this act.

It is in relation to this section that we should read1 the powers the minister really has. As he indicated, the minister has power to create crown corporations for the purpose of carrying out the objects of this legislation. That is covered- by section 7, and in subsection 3 of that section we find this-:

The minister may remove any members, directors, or officers- of a corporation incorporated under this section at any time and may appoint others in their stead or may appoint additional persons as members.

Referring back to section 5, therefore, we find that this is not something to be done by order in council, but that corporations with immense capital, and of great importance to all Canada, may have their officers removed and other officers appointed, not by the minister, although he is named, but by any Tom, Dick or Harry authorized by the minister, utterly unknown to this house. So we are conferring upon the minister not only the power to do these extraordinary things, in many cases without the approval of the government itself; we are still further asked to let him name anyone and give him authority to exercise these tremendous powers which may so greatly affect the future of Canada. Then again we find in section 11 that it is not the government by order in council but the minister who-

-shall examine Into, organize, mobilize, and conserve the resources of Canada contributory to, and the sources of supply of, defence supplies and the agencies and facilities available for the supply of the same. . .

Then it goes on to explain that this power shall extend to construction projects and the exploration of all the possibilities in that field. There again, it is not the government upon whom we are conferring a power, nor the minister alone, but someone unknown to the government, unknown to parliament, who may be appointed by the minister at any time to undertake this task. This same extension of power goes right on through the act.

Section 23, which is a section of immense power, provides the following, and I think in the text of what I am saying I shall read this section. It reads:

(1) Where a person who has been requested to enter into a defence contract on terms and conditions that the minister considers to be fair and reasonable has refused or failed to enter into the

contract, if the minister is satisfied that such person owns or controls facilities that are suitable for or can be adapted to the work required to carry out such contract and that his refusal or failure was without reasonable excuse, the minister may direct that person to produce, deliver or store, or to construct, as the case may be, on such terms and conditions and within such period as the minister considers to be fair and reasonable in the circumstances, the defence supplies or the defence project or projects that would have been the subject matter of the contract if it had been entered into.

(2) A person who stores defence supplies pursuant to a direction under this section is liable for the loss thereof or for damage thereto as if he had agreed to store them for reward.

Think of the powers conferred under that section, and then recognize that under section 5 we are asked to authorize the minister to place powers of that kind under no restraint of government, let alone parliament, in the hands of anyone who may be appointed by the minister at any time on his own discretion.

Then, section 28 is another section of great importance. Again, so that my remarks carry through the effect of this bill in sequence so far as the powers of the minister being delegated are concerned, I shall read section 28. It reads:

(1) The minister may, by order, direct that a person shall not be bound-

I should like those members who are still interested in the responsibility of parliament, and in the authority of provincial legislatures as well as municipal councils, to listen to the effect of these words:

by any obligation, restriction or limitation imposed on that person by or under any statute, order, rule, regulation, by-law, or contract with respect to such matters as may be specified in the order affecting the entry into or performance of a defence contract by that person or the carrying out of an order made by the minister under this act.

(2) Where the failure to fulfil any contract, whether entered into before or after the commencement of this act, is due to the compliance on the part of any person with any provision of this act or any order or regulation, proof of that fact shall be a good defence to any action or proceeding in respect of the failure.

There is no necessity, Mr. Speaker, to try to extend the interpretation of this to any particular limit. It is only necessary to see what this actually means. This is not power by order in council, dangerous though that may be, but this means that under section 5 any person without legal training, without business training, without knowledge of the subject matter at all, if he happened to be appointed by the minister would have a power which would be greater than that of the legislatures of this country during the life of this act. This power conferred by section 28 would give that power to any individual, without the cabinet even knowing it, to override any dominion statute, provincial statute, any municipal bylaw or regulation or order made under them which affected any

Defence Production Act contract, or the subject matter relating to one of these defence contracts. It is not possible to conceive of a greater defiance of the responsibility of parliament than section 28.

Then, let us go to the next section, section 29.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Beaudoin):

Order.

I waited as long as I could, and I am sorry to interrupt the leader of the opposition. He has quoted several sections in the bill, and I should like to refer to citation 656 of Beau-chesne's third edition. It reads:

The second reading of a bill is that stage when it is proper to enter into a discussion and propose a motion relative to the principle of the measure. On the motion for the second reading, it is out of order to discuss the clauses of the bill.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, if objection is to be taken to discussing these extremely offensive sections of this bill in the hope that the government might seek to amend the bill in a way that would restore some of the responsibility of parliament, then obviously I cannot proceed in detail to urge that the government give some consideration to a restoration of parliamentary democracy in keeping with the statement made in this house and outside by the Prime Minister. Nevertheless, I am not in any way precluded from saying that the effect of the immediately succeeding sections is to give powers, again under the authority of the minister, making it possible to conduct investigations of a nature that I am sure were never contemplated by any legislation previously placed before this house.

So that there may be no question about the sections, I leave it to the members to examine them in detail. I shall say that this bill carries forward the extraordinary provisions of an act which was passed by this house last September, an act which will be repealed by this bill if it is passed in its present form. It is the Essential Materials (Defence) Act which is to be repealed by one of the sections of this act. The provisions of that act, which are fully embraced and rewritten into this act, give wider powers to this government than have ever been conferred on any government in Canada in peace or war. Fortunately for the people of Canada in one respect, the government was apparently reluctant to exercise its declared authority under that act which we contended last September was not constitutional. My own opinion stated then was that it was ultra vires. I believe the government has done so little under it because they also became convinced that it was ultra vires. They are now carrying those powers forward into a wider emergency bill, and I feel sure they hope to maintain the authority of this

852 HOUSE OF

Defence Production Act bill by the fact that, under the Emergency Powers Act, this house would be called upon to declare an emergency.

This act is one which goes so far that it makes it possible for the government, without specific authority of parliament, to declare any service an essential service. If the members will carefully read the sections which it has been suggested I should not read into the record, they will find that the authority conferred is so great that a general order could be made declaring any service right across Canada an essential service which would come under the control of the dominion government, no matter how exclusively it at all times in the past had been within the exclusive jurisdiction of the provincial governments of this country.

Again I hope that, when I point out some of these things, it will not be argued that I am opposing the setting up of a department of defence production. That is the easiest and most specious defence for utterly undemocratic procedure which takes place in this house. Every time that an attempt is made to point out the dangers of legislation that is introduced, the question is raised as to whether we want action at this time. We want action, but we want action that retains the authority of parliament and that retains that core of democracy for which this parliament must speak if democracy is to survive in Canada during the critical years ahead.

I know that there are different views about extending these wide-open powers. There are those members of the house who have a comfortable feeling of confidence that, no matter how great are the powers, those powers would never be exercised to the detriment of the people of Canada.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
LIB

Stuart Sinclair Garson (Solicitor General of Canada; Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Mr. Garson:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

When I hear the Minister of

Justice (Mr. Garson) saying "hear, hear," I realize how far we have gone along the road to abandoning all responsibility of parliament itself, if he has his way.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

After all, the Minister of

Justice is the minister who has sworn to defend the laws of this country; and the Minister of Justice is the minister who has sworn to interpret our laws. His department is called upon to advise us in regard to laws. I must admit, of course, that there may be some measure of comfort in the mind of the minister that on this occasion he is able to agree with the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Howe) instead of having to submit. But, nevertheless, I suggest that there is a strong reason why the members of

this house should be concerned about that interjection of the Minister of Justice; because although we were told by the Minister of Trade and Commerce that this bill was drafted under his direction, we now have the apparent assurance of the Minister of Justice that it is with his approval as well.

These wide powers go beyond anything contemplated in this house before. If hon. members will read one section, they will find that under this bill, if it becomes law, the government by order in council may actually declare as an essential service the production of electricity. Let me deal with this matter merely by way of illustration. If the government decided that the production of electricity was an essential service, they could then pass an order declaring the production of electricity right across Canada an essential service. Under that order they could appoint controllers, and take over the operation of the electrical services in every one of the ten provinces, whether publicly owned or privately owned. It is not a question of whether the minister is likely to do that. It is what the government could do. Of course, even though there may be some of the members that have such unlimited confidence in the omniscience and the wisdom of the Minister of Trade and Commerce-

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

If the situation were not so

serious, Mr. Speaker, one might really laugh with those members who have this astonishing attitude toward powers of that kind. It would seem to me that at least one reporter of a weekly publication in this country must have been infected with that particular disease which, along with the influenza, seems to be epidemic in this house at the moment. I saw it in only one place, but in a weekly publication called Time, under the date of February 12 last, there is a heading: "Canada" which appears of course in the Canadian edition. Under that heading there is a paragraph headed: "All In Favor." Alongside it there is a picture of the Minister of Trade and Commerce.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Melville Warren

Liberal

Mr. Warren:

Good looking.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

There is one thing about the Minister of Trade and Commerce. He certainly does not lack for a vocal claque in this house, at any rate.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
LIB

Robert Henry Winters (Minister of Resources and Development)

Liberal

Mr. Winters:

Genuine support.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I am not being in any way offensive to the hon. member; I do not mean the word "clack"; I mean the word "claque". Under the heading of "All in Favor", which appears beside the picture of the Minister

of Trade and Commerce, we find this extremely interesting and wholly imaginative paragraph:

One move made by the Canadian government last week won unanimous approval from all the major parties. Tories and C.C.F. joined the Liberals in applauding the appointment of Clarence Decatur Howe, 65,-

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
LIB

Ralph Melville Warren

Liberal

Mr. Warren:

That was a good idea.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Beaudoin):

Order.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink
PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Except that it has not been done yet. The article continues:

-as head of the newly-created department of defence production. "A first-rate administrator," said Tory leader George Drew. "He was the one man the government had for it," echoed a C.C.F.'er.

May 1 point out that, in the first place, the department of defence production has not yet been created. The minister has not yet been appointed. I never made any such statement in relation to this act, and I have never thought of making it because I am satisfied that the last minister to administer this act, with terms of that kind, is the Minister of Trade and Commerce.

Topic:   CREATION OF NEW DEPARTMENT
Subtopic:   MOBILIZATION OF ECONOMIC AND INDUSTRIAL FACILITIES
Permalink

March 2, 1951