June 15, 1951

LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

I am dealing with ships in Canadian waters.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Here were ships operating in communist waters. At the time this exemption was granted, last April or May, all that southeast part of China bad been taken over by the communists. These ships obviously were to operate in communist waters, so there was nothing ordinary, I suggest, about the exemptions.

B.ut whatever the case may be with regard to later exemptions, the minister must have granted this exemption in writing, and I would ask that he produce a copy of that formal exemption which was issued to this company.

Last night the Minister of Trade and Commerce discussed that matter, and he is reported at page 4124 of Hansard in this way:

When they came back under the Canadian flag they were exempted from the requirements. This was the most disturbing condition to meet and, rather than let the ships go, which might have been the wisest course, we did take what seemed to be the practical course, to bring the physical ships under the Canadian flag, but to exempt the ships from the requirements of the Canada Shipping Act as long as they operated in Chinese waters.

The Minister of Trade and Commerce there pointed out that this exemption applied only while these ships were in Chinese waters. Surely the Minister of Transport can produce the actual exemption or exemptions containing these various provisions. If that were done it would help us to get rid of the matter.

He also said in the course of his remarks a few moments ago, or at least gave me the impression, that this application for Canadian registry came out of the blue, in the ordinary way that any application would come for registration. But the Minister of Trade and Commerce made some comments on that side of the question, too, last night when he said:

All went well until the Chinese government, the government of Chiang Kai-shek, fell, and then the banks began to worry a little about their loan. In the uncertain situation that followed, it seemed wise-

4190 HOUSE OF

Supply-External Affairs And obviously the minister meant there that it seemed wise to himself and to his

fellow members in the cabinet.

-to transfer the ships to the Canadian flag, which was done at the request of the Ming Sung Company, which expressed a desire to protect their loans in Canada.

Now, this whole question obviously was considered by the cabinet a year ago. Can either of the ministers, either the Minister of Transport or the Secretary of State for External Affairs, tell us why it was that this protection of the Canadian flag was given to these ships? One or other of those ministers must know why it was that such protection was given. I would ask that they let us have that information now.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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LIB

Jean Lesage (Parliamentary Assistant to the Secretary of State for External Affairs)

Liberal

Mr. Lesage:

You had an answer this

afternoon.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

No, we did not. And if the

parliamentary assistant thinks we had it this afternoon, I would like to have it tonight.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

I will not keep on repeating the same thing several times. I have said on two occasions in this debate that I have given the house all the information at my disposal at this time. Now, I would ask the hon. member to believe me when I say that I put that information on Hansard this afternoon and again this evening, and that I have no further information. I might be able to get more details or more of the information that has been required when I look into the files, but I think the committee will agree with me that in the twenty or twenty-five minutes at my disposal I did pretty well in getting what I did get concerning a matter which took place over a year ago, and much of which had not to do with my department. My hon. friend asks for information, but I regret that I am unable to give him more than I have given. I repeat that I have given all that is in my possession and that I will do the best I can to get additional information which is in my department concerning this transaction.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

I ask the minister what was

the underlying government policy in giving the protection of the Canadian flag to these ships? What was the reason that was done?

I think that is a very material question. Here was a decision and an unusual exemption granted. What was the policy which caused that to be done? There must have been some reason that the government took that step. Why was it taken? It certainly was not merely to help out a private company, I would think. What was the reason that this unusual step was taken?

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

My hon. friend will have to ask that of some other minister. I did say [Mr. Green.l

this afternoon that the circumstances surrounding the application were that the ships were likely to fall into communist hands; that unless something were done to give the protection of the Canadian flag or the British flag that would happen. I also said that there were no British officers, that is mates or engineers, available in Hong Kong for the manning of these ships.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

What difference would it make to Canada if these Chinese ships did fall into communist hands? These were ships which had never been registered as Canadian ships, except perhaps during the course of their building. They were registered as Chinese ships under the Chinese nationalist government. Why did the government of Canada take this step in order to prevent these ships falling into the hands of the other Chinese government? What was the reason for doing that?

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

I think the Minister of Trade and Commerce covered that in his statement last night and if the hon member will look at page 4124 of Hansard he will find the answer.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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PC

Howard Charles Green

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Is the answer because the dominion government had guaranteed the bank loan? Is that what the Minister of Transport means?

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

If my hon. friend is trying to get from me information concerning finance, then I am afraid I cannot give it to him. I have dealt with the matter as far as I can as it concerns the Department of Transport.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

In the course of his remarks a little earlier the Minister of Transport, referring to what the hon. member for Lake Centre had said, -made the statement that the circumstances surrounding this transaction and its present development were not as extraordinary as the hon. member for Lake Centre and those associated with him would lead us to believe. As a matter of fact I think the committee will probably decide that on the contrary the circumstances are more extraordinary than the ministers who have spoken so far this afternoon are prepared to admit. Indeed the circumstances have been extraordinary ever since the inception of this whole transaction which has landed us where we are today.

We have heard about five ships and two ships which appear to have gone missing.

I believe that there were more ships than that. I should like to hear from the government as to what has happened to the other ships which were purchased by this Ming Sung Industrial Company Limited under a government-guaranteed loan. I believe that there were more ships and I should like to

have confirmation of that and to know what has happened to them. Are they in communist hands? Why were they not included in this arrangement? Are they trading with the enemy? What has happened to them?

In a further reference to the questions asked by the hon. member for Lake Centre the Minister of Transport stated that the government did not know anything about the incorporation of the Canadian subsidiary and that he did not know whether it was a dominion or provincial company. Surely the government must have known and must have had information at the time. I am not saying that the minister should remember all the details, but the government surely must have known at the time of the circumstances of this incorporation of the Canadian subsidiary because they had an outstanding loan against these ships.

If the bill of sale of the ships to be registered was in the name of the Canadian subsidiary, surely the government must have had knowledge of that bill of sale at the time they were registered and thus have known of the Canadian subsidiary. If my recollection serves me correctly, it could not have been a provincial company. As I understand the British North America Act, any firm engaged in trans-ocean or inter-coastal shipping could not possibly be incorporated under a provincial charter. It must be a firm incorporated under a dominion charter because the dominion has exclusive jurisdiction over that type of shipping. The federal government must have known at the time when this firm was incorporated. I do not think the committee should be satisfied with the refusal of information at this time on the ground, "Well, we probably do not know anything about it anyway because it may not even have been a dominion charter".

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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LIB

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

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

I am sorry to

interrupt the hon. member, but I should like to bring to his attention a few citations which I think are appropriate on this occasion. The acting leader of the government has already stated that all the information that was available at this time was put before the committee. The Secretary of State for External Affairs made a similar statement this afternoon. The Minister of Transport has said repeatedly this evening that he has put before the committee all the information which was in his possession at the present moment, which was available at the moment. Citation 240 of Beauchesne, third edition, to be found at page 103, reads:

It has been formally ruled by Speakers in the Canadian commons that a statement by an honourable member respecting himself and peculiarly within his own knowledge must be accepted,- 80709-267

Supply-External Affairs

Citation 241 reads:

A statement made by a member in his place, is considered as made upon honour and cannot be questioned in the house or out of it.

I do not think hon. members should say repeatedly that the minister should have this information now or should give the committee more information after so many statements have been made by ministers and by the acting leader of the government that all the information that is available at this time has been put before the committee. I should like hon. members in taking part in the debate during whatever time is yet available before adjournment to bear these citations in mind.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I recall no occasion on which

it has been said that all the information now available is before us. It has been said-

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

I made that statement, that all the information at my disposal-

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

That is quite different and

that is exactly what I want to point out. It is one thing for a minister to say that he has given to the house what he knows himself. The minister has a file on the Ming Sung Company. He could get that file. Even if there was an oral directive, which would be an interesting thing, there would be a copy there of the letter sent by the minister or his official to the Ming Sung Company interpreting that oral directive and telling the company under what circumstances they could have this registry transferred. The details will all be there and those details could be brought to this committee within a few minutes and presented to this committee.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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LIB

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

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Perhaps the leader of the opposition did not hear a few words of what I said. I said the Minister of Transport had made a statement to the effect that he had given all the information that was available, and I added, "at this time;" all the information that was available at this time. I am pretty sure I said that. I think the typescript copy of Hansard will prove I said that.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Chairman, I do not want to split hairs, but there is a vast difference between saying that we have all the information that is available at this time and saying that we have all the information that the minister now possesses, or everything he knows at this time. What I am saying is that it is unthinkable that there is not full information in a file in the Department of Transport with respect to the Ming Sung transaction. I qualify that by saying that the minister thinks that it was an oral directive, and if so then it is absolutely certain that there is a file readily available which

Supply-External Affairs will contain the letter or letters which interpreted that oral directive and told the Ming Sung Company the exact conditions under which they would be able to carry out this change of registry.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

I think that the leader of the opposition must have been out of the house when, over and above what he repeated, I added that I would get any other information that was available.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Get it now.

Topic:   UKRAINIAN CATHOLIC EPISCOPAL CORPORATION OF SASKATCHEWAN
Subtopic:   DEPARTMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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June 15, 1951