May 28, 1952

CANADA GRAIN ACT

PROVISION FOR REAPPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONERS

LIB

Clarence Decatur Howe (Minister of Defence Production; Minister of Trade and Commerce)

Liberal

Right Hon. C. D. Howe (Minister of Trade and Commerce) moved

the second reading of Bill No. 246, to amend the Canada Grain Act.

He said: Mr. Speaker, when I spoke on the resolution I outlined very briefly the amendments which are being proposed. I also referred to the work and responsibilities of the board of grain commissioners and to the problem of overages at country elevators. Two or three of the amendments really require very little more explanation than I have already given.

It is proposed to increase the salaries of the chief commissioner and of his fellow commissioners. Their present salaries were fixed in 1930. In view of the magnitude and importance of the board's operations, there can be no question that the increases are well warranted. Certainly they cannot be considered excessive as compared with the rise of general salary levels either in the public service or in business circles.

The amendment to provide for the reappointment of members of the board simply removes any room for doubt concerning the authority to make reappointments. The present section was not considered sufficiently clear in this respect.

The position of assistant commissioner for the eastern division-the lakehead-is to be dropped. Experience has shown that the duties of that position can very well be undertaken by the board and staff at the headquarters in Winnipeg. I am satisfied that the board's operations at the lakehead will in no way suffer as a result of this change. The same amendment proposes that henceforth the salaries of the assistant commissioners shall be fixed by the governor in council.

Section 85 of the Canada Grain Act specifies the form in which tickets and other documents used by elevator operators must appear. Hon. members from the prairie provinces will be familiar, for example, with the book in which

cash tickets are kept. Some elevator companies now are considering adopting the modern system of a continuous form used in a registering machine which keeps locked-in carbon copies and which has a number of advantages over the current form of book. The present wording of section 85, however, prevents the use of such a machine. It is therefore proposed, by amending section 15, to give the board of grain commissioners authority to permit the use, in the alternative, of such forms as may be approved by the board. At least one operator of a country elevator system is experimenting with the possibility of combining into one operation the issuance of the cash ticket and the wheat board's producer's certificate. At the present time the elevator agent has to complete the cash ticket on one form and the producer's certificate on another. Using the new type of continuous form it is proposed that the original copy will be the cash ticket; copies 2 and 3 will be the producer's certificate and the remaining copies will be the required additional copies of the cash ticket. Thus, in one operation, both forms will have been completed. I have in my office a copy of the proposed set of forms which I shall be pleased to show to any hon. member who is interested.

The Canada Grain Act now provides that the board of grain commissioners may make regulations and orders in respect of a number of matters, but it does not empower the governor in council to make regulations. It is desirable that such authority should be vested in the governor in council in order to permit speedy action to be taken when the occasion demands it. It is proposed, therefore, to provide the governor in council with the powers specified. The explanatory notes to the bill draw attention to the fact that it is occasionally impractical, or even physically impossible, to comply with some specific requirement of the act. There is probably no other major line of business in this country in which more unforeseen contingencies of one kind or another can arise than in that of getting the grain crops forwarded from the harvest fields to commercial positions. Serious emergencies inevitably occur from time to time. For example, in the situation that existed last autumn the terminal space at the lakehead was so urgently needed that it was impractical to carry out the weigh-overs within the period required by the Canada Grain Act. Other emergencies are bound to occur in future but it is not possible to forecast what form they will take.

As regards the questions of regulations, the board's power is limited to regulations

Canada Grain Act

or orders that "are not inconsistent with this act". The governor in council is to be given power to meet exceptional circumstances by issuing regulations of a type that the board is not authorized to make.

Hon. members will note that it is proposed that any regulation made by the governor in council, dispensing with a requirement of the act, shall automatically expire on the last day of the next succeeding session of parliament. If, therefore, the difficulty that gave rise to the regulation were of a permanent nature there would be opportunity to introduce at that session an appropriate amendment to the act. In most cases, however, the problems are likely to be of a temporary nature and the regulation by the governor in council would meet the situation without the necessity of subsequent amendment to the act.

Finally there is an amendment to effect some slight but necessary changes in the definition of certain grades of grain. The only changes are to insert the minimum weights per bushel of the various grades mentioned.

I believe the provisions of the bill are entirely non-contentious. There will be differences of opinion about matters not dealt with in the bill. But since this is an overhaul of the Canada Grain Act, after the bill receives second reading it will be referred to the committee on agriculture for further examination. If the committee decides to add to or to amend the bill the government will be prepared to give due consideration to such recommendations.

Topic:   CANADA GRAIN ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR REAPPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONERS
Sub-subtopic:   SALARY INCREASES
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PC

James Arthur Ross

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. A. Ross (Souris):

Mr. Speaker, I certainly am pleased to hear the minister say that the bill will be referred to the committee on agriculture. As is realized, the duties and responsibilities of the board of grain commissioners are important and varied, as they have to do with the trade-in, storing, and transportation of grain in this country.

As I suggested before, I hope the minister will make it possible for the committee on agriculture to hear the views of the chief chemist who acts under the board in connection with the testing of grain, and has something to do with grading. It would be important to have this official appear before the committee, and also that we should hear officials from organized agricultural groups, such as the chief officials of the United Farmers of Canada, the Federation of Agriculture and others. They should be permitted to appear before the committee on agriculture and make recommendations and

Canada Grain Act

suggestions as to what should be done by way of amendment to the Canada Grain Act.

Their opinions vary. Some of them are not in agreement with the manner in which the act has been carried out, and I think it would be only right and proper that they should be given an opportunity to express their views. There has been considerable controversy in western Canada about the ultimate disposition of overages. The minister has said there would be no amendment in that respect. Nevertheless these people who have made a study of the matter should be permitted to make their recommendations. This bill is important to the grain producers in the prairie provinces. Because it is being referred to the committee on agriculture, I do not wish to speak at greater length now.

Topic:   CANADA GRAIN ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR REAPPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONERS
Sub-subtopic:   SALARY INCREASES
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CCF

William Scottie Bryce

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

Mr. William Bryce (Selkirk):

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the minister is going to let this bill go to the committee on agriculture, because this will save prolonged discussion in the house, and give hon. members an opportunity to go into the Canada Grain Act. For some things there will be approval, and for others disapproval; but in committee we will have an opportunity to express our views and to ask questions. I do not think I need to say more at this time.

Topic:   CANADA GRAIN ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR REAPPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONERS
Sub-subtopic:   SALARY INCREASES
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SC

Robert Fair

Social Credit

Mr. Robert Fair (Battle River):

Mr. Speaker, like hon. members who have spoken thus far in the debate, those of us in the Social Credit party welcome the amendments to the Canada Grain Act. This act has been developed over a number of years, and the improvements it has brought about have been of great assistance to the farmers, particularly those in the prairie provinces. I am glad the minister has promised to send it to the committee. I hope he will have people there to give us information.

I am glad also that the minister has said that consideration will be given to an amendment that might be suggested by that committee. While the act is not nearly as bad as it used to be, I believe there is still room for improvement. Perhaps by the time the committee and the house are finished with it, it will be in a more satisfactory condition than it is at the present time.

Topic:   CANADA GRAIN ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR REAPPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONERS
Sub-subtopic:   SALARY INCREASES
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Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and referred to the standing committee on agriculture and colonization.


LIB

Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Hon. Alphonse Fournier (Minister of Public Works) moved

that the house go into committee of supply.

Topic:   CANADA GRAIN ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR REAPPOINTMENT OF COMMISSIONERS
Sub-subtopic:   SALARY INCREASES
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TORONTO ISLANDS

EROSION OF SHORE LINE

PC

George Harris Hees

Progressive Conservative

Mr. George H. Hees (Broadview):

More than two months ago, Mr. Speaker, I brought to the government's attention the very serious change that is taking place in the Toronto islands by virtue of erosion. I pointed out that if this damage was allowed to continue, the islands would disappear, and without their protection Toronto harbour would cease to exist. I urged the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Fournier) to send an engineer to see what could be done in the way of building a breakwater and groynes to prevent further deterioration.

On May 9, in order to check up on the progress that had been made in this matter, I put a question on the order paper as follows:

Has the government received a report from the engineer sent to investigate the damage caused by flooding and erosion to the Toronto islands?

If so, what is the recommendation of the engineer for protective works to prevent further deterioration?

The answer I received to both of those questions was as follows:

Matter under investigation.

Having received that return, Mr. Speaker, today I phoned the mayor's office in Toronto to see just what sort of co-operation the city of Toronto was receiving from the federal authorities. I was told that, first of all, the situation with regard to the deterioration of the Toronto islands had become considerably worse in the last two months. Secondly, the government has given no indication whatever that it intends to accept any responsibility in this matter. The reply that I received to my question is therefore simply a parliamentary way of saying that the government is doing nothing in this matter; intends to do nothing; and simply hopes that the matter will be forgotten.

I should like once again to point out to this government that the Toronto harbour is a vitally important part of the St. Lawrence seaway project, and that, without the Toronto islands, the Toronto harbour would cease to exist. The preservation of the Toronto harbour is a federal responsibility. If the Toronto islands are allowed to deteriorate further, many times the cost of protecting them now will have to be spent later in providing protective works to make the continuance of Toronto harbour possible. I take this opportunity, therefore, of once again strongly urging the government to recognize its responsibility, and to undertake, in co-operation with the city of Toronto, the protective works that are necessary to prevent further deterioration of the Toronto harbour.

Motion agreed to and the house went into committee, Mr. Beaudoin in the chair.

Topic:   TORONTO ISLANDS
Subtopic:   EROSION OF SHORE LINE
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PRIVY COUNCIL


315. General administration, $346,391.


CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

There is one question that I should like to put to the Prime Minister. One should not indicate in advance that there might be any doubt as to his question being in order. It is a risky thing to do, but perhaps, Mr. Chairman, you will allow this question to be asked at this time. The reason I ask it on this item is that I believe the Massey report did come directly under the Prime Minister, and we are now dealing with the privy council, which is the Prime Minister's department.

Can the Prime Minister say, in more detail than he has by answering questions on the orders of the day, whether consideration is being given to the making of a reasonably generous grant to the dominion drama festival? I recognize that the recommendations of the Massey report with respect to that matter were not too precise or too definitive, but certainly there were suggestions to that effect. There are people in this country who are concerned over what has happened to the dominion drama festival recently because of its shortage of funds. I refer to the offer of certain interests which the festival directors deemed it necessary to accept. There are people who have protested against this acceptance, and I believe some of the protests may have reached the Prime Minister. Could he say whether further consideration has been given to that matter arising out of the government's study of the Massey report?

Topic:   PRIVY COUNCIL
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):

Mr. Chairman, consideration has been given to that matter, but it has been found it is not a matter that can be dealt with separately. I do not mean to suggest that there is any intention of waiting until we can propose as general a solution to the problem of culture as was reported in advance in a broadcast that was made Sunday night between 9 and 10 o'clock. But it is not probable that any appropriation will be asked from parliament at this session for the purposes of the drama festival or the encouragement of the Canadian ballet or other kindred matters.

It would not be possible to pick out any one or more of these community activities of a cultural nature until we have been able to look over the whole field, and recommend to parliament general principles according to which encouragement might be extended in a financial way to some and refused to others who would not be within the general principles approved by parliament.

Supply-Privy Council Mr. Knowles: I take it, then, that we can expect in due course further recommendations in the field of culture as covered by the Massey report?

Topic:   PRIVY COUNCIL
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

I did not quite catch the last words of the hon. member.

Topic:   PRIVY COUNCIL
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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Knowles:

We can anticipate further recommendations may come along in due course?

Topic:   PRIVY COUNCIL
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

Further recommendations certainly will come along in due course. There is a realization on the part of the government that there is a wide interest throughout the whole of Canada in that field, but it was not found to be practicable to do' anything at once in any other field than that of aid to the universities and institutions of higher learning, which was done on an experimental basis, as the hon. member realizes, by the appropriation asked from parliament at the last session.

With respect to the others, the government has not only its own members but interdepartmental committees trying to devise the kind of formula which could be recommended to parliament and which would make it possible then to recommend grants to certain activities and to refuse them to certain other activities for valid reasons set out in the statement of principles or formula that would have been recommended to and approved by parliament.

Topic:   PRIVY COUNCIL
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PC

James MacKerras Macdonnell

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macdonnell (Greenwood):

May I just ask one further question of the Prime Minister in connection with that matter? I appreciate the reason that universities were especially dealt with. I appreciate the difficulty of acting in advance of general principles being laid down. However, I ask the Prime Minister this question. Is it, as I understand it to be, a fact that the drama movement is perhaps, after a good many successful years, in danger not only of falling on evil days but perhaps of even coming to an end because of the failure of its resources? In other words, may I ask whether this may not possibly be an emergency measure different from others?

Topic:   PRIVY COUNCIL
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LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

The reasons for treating it as an emergency situation were put to the government and were considered; and the conclusion arrived at was that we were not disposed to take the responsibility of recommending something to parliament until we could state what were going to be the general principles we felt should be established.

Topic:   PRIVY COUNCIL
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May 28, 1952