April 25, 1934 (17th Parliament, 5th Session)


Hermas Deslauriers


Mr. HERMAS DESLAURIERS (St. Mary's) (Translation):

Mr. Speaker, I followed closely and with much interest most of the speeches delivered on this measure. No doubt the house is unanimous in recognizing that it is expedient, owing to the difficult times we are experiencing, to improve certain methods in our trade. The point on which we disagree is the scheme that the government wishes to impose so to attain its purpose.

Marketing Act-Mr. Deslauriers
I make it a rule to respect the views of my colleagues and all those with whom I differ of opinion. I intend in the course of my remarks to follow this principle. However, I shall point out to the hon. member for Queens (Mr. Myers), who has just preceded me in this debate, that I do not entirely agree with his views on certain phases of the bill, especially, when he contends that the prerogatives of provinces are not threatened by this legislation. No doubt, he refers to section 11, which reads as follows:
The Board may, with the approval of the Governor in Council, exercise any power conferred upon it by or pursuant to provincial legislation with reference to the marketing of a natural product.
The board may exercise any power conferred upon it by a provincial legislation. The section does not state that it should but that it may; it will therefore be optional for this board to exercise the powers conferred upon it by provincial legislation. The section adds that this board may moreover exercise "any power under the authority of this legislation in connection with the marketing of a natural product, I am not a lawyer, however, I think that this section implies that this board may exercise all the powers conferred by a province; however, on the other hand, that it is perfectly free not to exercise them or set them aside and exercise those authorized by this section 11 under the act.
Furthermore, if the press has well interpreted the statement of the hon. Prime Minister of Quebec, whose standing as a legal authority is well known, one may note that his views certainly agree with the comments I have just made.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Vegreville (Mr. Luchkovich) seemed quite astonished, last evening, to find that the Liberal party opposed this measure and he could not understand our attitude. He spoke jokingly and ridiculed the right hon. leader of the opposition (Mr. Mackenzie King) as regards his arguments from a constitutional viewpoint. I thought that my hon. friend seemed quite pleased last evening, when he delivered his speech. He probably had reason to be because it referred to a radical measure and, as a member of the C.C.F., that pleased him very much. On the other hand, we are not obliged to share his views and the reason we oppose this bill, at present, is because we are the pioneers of this American continent, we were born in Canada, we have but one country, Canada, our history is dear to us, we possess institutions which are equally dear to us and we have a constitution that we wish to safe-[Mr. Deslauriers.!
guard. We also have traditions which we do not want to foresake for new principles such as those that are advocated by our friends on the extreme left. At all events, if the hon. member for Vegreville will only, at the next election, consult his French Canadian constituents who usually support him and repeat to them what he stated as regards this bill, they will know how to act and jyill give him a full measure of justice.
In perusing, sir, this legislation known as "An Act to improve the methods and practices involved in the marketing of national products, 1934," I feared at any moment to come across some expression with a Russian consonance, so much I found that this piece of legislation was remote from all British practice. We must, on the second reading of this bill, confine ourselves to the principle of the bill. I heard it said in the house that this bill contained not one principle but three. I think that there is a very important one involved and it is easily discovered.
To all purposes the government wishes to upset the authority such as constituted in this country and destroy one's liberty as well as commercial freedom.
The apparent purpose, improvement on the methods in practice for marketing the Canadian natural products for exportation, an improvement which we recognize as necessary, becomes of minor importance and cannot be the principle of this measure if the government persists in following this procedure rather than proceed by placing an item in the estimates and by cooperating with the provinces.
To allow the government to build up an allpowerful board having its elbow room in the public treasury without the authority of parliament, a board responsible to no one, which would have the right, without consulting any one, to legislate, monopolize, reward, licence, indemnify, expend, discount, exempt, possess, destroy, punish and even throw people in gaol, that is no more a principle. Organize boards of all kinds, shake up a whole army of officials whose number is unlimited and at a salary determined by themselves-

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