June 28, 1951

PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

The figures are made up as follows: Amounts already paid: defence production assistance, Dominion Foundries and Steel Limited, $840.00; Sept lies, wharf, Quebec, $8,186.40; Chalk River reactor, $26,725.42; board of grain commissioners, $43,314.64; national harbours board, $81,542.39, making a total paid of $160,608.85. The amounts to be paid on the basis of percentages stated in relation to the stated amounts of the contracts: Sept lies, still to be paid, $41,813.60; Chalk River reactor, $294,274.58; board of grain commissioners, $208.00; national harbours board, $17,000, making a total of $353,296.18, or a grand total of $513,905.03; and it was to that figure that I referred.

The Minister of Trade and Commerce has quite clearly indicated the association of his family with the company, and since he has brought that up, then he has established exactly what was said.

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?

Some hon. Members:

No.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

In so far as the Seven Islands job is concerned, when the Seven Islands job was undertaken the C. D. Howe Company Limited opened offices at 1421 Atwater street in Montreal, which was formerly the office of War Assets Corporation. Then I find that in the Advertising Journal of January, 1951, there is this advertisement:

Wanted-20 graduate engineers and draftsmen, mechanical, civil and electrical for projects in Ontario and Quebec by C. D. Howe Limited, 1421 Atwater street, Montreal, Quebec.

The Minister of Trade and Commerce is well aware that the member of his family in whom he has such confidence-and this is not in question-is pretty actively associated with a responsible position with that office that has been opened up in Montreal. These are the contracts that form the substantial basis of the work that is now being done by this company.

When the question is raised about "smear" tactics-and my remarks in this respect apply with equal force to the Prime Minister- before talking about smear tactics it is time that the government cleaned up this improper situation, and made it clear that no further contracts of this kind will be awarded. And that does not apply only to members of families, but also to friends, political and otherwise; because there has been a long established principle in regard to matters of this kind which is of the utmost importance at any time, but which assumes added importance when under any emergency or so-called emergency situation, the government, or any minister of the government, is placed in the position where he can exercise wide powers, not under the continuing supervision of parliament, as a result of the emergency powers conferred upon him. That is the situation in which the Minister of Defence Production is placed today.

The members of this house, by a majority vote, imposed upon the Minister of Defence Production the responsibility for the supervision of contracts running into hundreds of millions of dollars, which, by the very nature of those contracts, are not brought before this house for discussion. At the present time, as was pointed out, there are contracts, for instance, being awarded across Canada for the construction of radar stations involving very large expenditures. In the very nature of things those stations are not discussed in detail here in this house. I am not suggesting they should be; but the very fact that operations of that kind, and other operations of a similar nature-and many of those operations are carried out at the request of the Department of National Defence by the Department of Defence Production-cannot be discussed, having regard to the nature

C. D. Howe Company Limited of their activities, does impose a special obligation upon the Minister of Defence Production to leave no doubt that there shall be no contracts awarded which in any way would offend the strict and unwritten rule that there shall be no advantage to any member of a family or friend of any member of the government in connection with contracts awarded in that way.

That principle has been so deeply embedded in the practices of our British parliamentary system that the time has long since passed when it was necessary to restate them, but it obviously is. They were as clearly stated as I have found them anywhere by Mr. Asquith at the time of the famous Marconi scandal in Britain, and I should like to quote from what he said about that situation. I am reading now from Mr. Asquith's own report of what took place at that time, and his enunciation of the principles which had been broadly accepted in regard to matters of this kind. He said this:

I took the opportunity to formulate rules, which I divided into two categories of rules of obligations and rules of prudence.

The first, of course, and the most obvious, is that (1) ministers ought not to enter into any transaction whereby their private pecuniary interests might, even conceivably, come into conflict with their public duty. There is no dispute about that. Again (2) no minister is justified, under any circumstances, in using official information, information that has come to him as a minister, for his own private profit or for that of his friends. Further (3), no minister ought to allow or put himself in a position to be tempted to use his official influence in support of any scheme, or in furtherance of any contract, in regard to which he has an undisclosed private interest. That again is beyond dispute. Again (4), no minister ought to accept from persons who are in negotiation with or seeking to enter into contractual or proprietary or pecuniary relations with the state, any kind of favour. That, I think, is also beyond dispute.

I will add a further proposition, which I am not sure has been completely formulated, though it has no doubt been adumbrated in the course of these debates, and that is that (5) ministers should scrupulously avoid speculative investments in securities as to which, from their position and their special means of early or confidential information, they have, or may have, an advantage over other people in anticipating market changes.

These, Mr. Speaker, were what Mr. Asquith described as rules of obligation and rules of prudence.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

Have you any quotations from Mr. Duplessis?

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, we are dealing

with a subject which the Minister of Defence Production has properly regarded as an important one, and it is not assisted by the jocular and childish remarks of the Minister of Finance as to whether I have any quotations from Mr. Duplessis.

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LIB

Auguste Maltais

Liberal

Mr. Maltais:

He knows a lot about it.

C. D. Howe Company Limited

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Mr. Speaker, it is regrettable

that Hansard does not record the fact that the Minister of Finance and a great many of his supporters are regarding this as a hilarious subject in which they can inject very silly comments which really indicate that they do not recognize the seriousness of this subject.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

Not the subject; just the

speech.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I am continuing to quote what Mr. Asquith said at that time-

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?

Some hon. Members:

Dispense.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

The laughter again of hon.

members apparently shows that they do not want to be reminded that there are principles which have applied to matters of this kind.

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An hon. Member:

Do you know?

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

They might well go out if they are not prepared to listen, because I think there are those who do want to hear.

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LIB

Sarto Fournier

Liberal

Mr. Fournier (Maisonneuve-Rosemont):

Humbug.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

I remember very distinctly

what happened to a famous public man in England who used that expression, and I think the same thing will happen at the next general election to the hon. member who has just used it.

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Donald MacInnis

Mr. Maclnnis:

May I rise to a point of

order? The house listened with, I think, complete silence, and I think with relief, to the statement made by the Minister of Defence Production. Now I think the leader of the opposition is entitled to the same kind of hearing, whether we like what he says or not. That is all. I think he should be heard -but I am not sure that he is quite in order now.

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PC

George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Drew:

Well, Mr. Speaker, since the

admonition in regard to order has not come from the expert on rules of the C.C.F. party, I shall continue.

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LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Mr. Abbott:

That will hold you, Angus.

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

May I interject by saying

that I think the leader of the opposition is in order, under the circumstances.

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An hon. Member:

On division.

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June 28, 1951