April 16, 1962 (24th Parliament, 5th Session)


Walter George Pitman

New Democratic Party

Mr. Walter Pitman (Peterborough):

Mr. Speaker, it is certainly a pleasure to support the motion moved by the hon. member for York South. However, before indicating areas of agreement I should like to suggest that clarification of the motion would perhaps be of some value because it envisages the setting up of a department of industry. The problem there, of course, is that the word "industry" is used in such a broad way. I listened to the hon. member's remarks as carefully as I could and I felt that he really meant secondary industry. He talked about the fishing industry, the lumbering industry and various forms of industry which I am sure he would wish to keep outside such a department, as these primary industries have departments of their own. I take it what the hon. member wishes to see done is for a department to be set up which would be particularly concerned with secondary manufacturing, and it is in this way that I interpret the resolution that he has placed upon the order paper.
I think the resolution is an excellent one and I believe we must give some emphasis to something that is becoming more and more important in the economic life of our nation. In my view the organization of government as we have it today reflects the kind of economic organization which largely supported our nation at one time. Therefore the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Fisheries, the Department of Mines and Technical Surveys and so on were very necessary and still are. But if in the structural organization of our government we are going to reflect the kind of economy that motivates our nation today we certainly need a department of secondary industry as our economy becomes more and more sophisticated. I do not think we want to burden a department which has, in a sense, become rather a hodgepodge already, that is our Department of Trade and Commerce. This department already deals with the bureau of statistics and several other branches. Certainly I do not believe it would be of advantage to burden that department with an industrial branch to look after secondary manufacturing. I feel it would be far better to have a separate department established with its own minister.
I think the hon. member for York South indicated some of the major reasons for my suggestion. Secondary industry is going to provide us with employment in the future. One of the professors at Queen's has indicated that over the next five years we in Canada will have to provide 5,000 jobs a week. These

jobs are going to have to be largely provided by secondary manufacturing. As has already been indicated, this area of manufacturing today supports more workers than any other area of our economy. Canada, over the past number of years, has become a major industrial nation. Certainly, I think we must recognize the fact that such a department has become a necessity. I do not disparage in any way the efforts that have been made by the Department of Trade and Commerce in this particular field. However, I am sure that all would recognize the need for some new organization in this particular area.
I believe we would agree that there are some very great developments that are taking place which merit the special attention of a minister and a departmental organization. There is, for instance, the problem of the combination of our industries and the fact that some of our industries are too small to compete. We are going to have to take a look at secondary manufacturing to see whether or not the units are sufficiently large to be able to compete on world markets. Then, too, we will have to look at some of our legislation, such as the Combines Investigation Act and other aspects of our legislation, to ascertain whether we can reorganize, reorient and redirect our efforts dealing with secondary manufacturing.
During the past few years we have been talking about the problem of United States control of secondary manufacturing. The bureau of statistics indicates to us that foreign ownership of secondary manufacturing has inched up from 38 per cent in 1926 to 57 per cent in 1959 and control has gone from 35 per cent to 57 per cent. This indicates the seriousness of the problem, particularly in the area of secondary manufacturing. Of course, we have seen this problem in the area of primary industry as well. This is a problem which can be dealt with, I believe, by a department particularly concerned with the problems of secondary industry.
We have to consider the problem of capital assistance to secondary industry because it is not needed in the same way or on the same terms as it is needed for primary industry.
I think, too, we have to take into account these nuances, these changes. We must not base our thinking upon primary industry. We have been talking a great deal about the relocation of industry. We have been talking about some of the problems of areas in our nation that have not been able to achieve the same level of development and prosperity as other areas. We have been talking about the possibility of relocating secondary industry. There are particular problems in connection with this suggestion which do not exist in
16. 1962
Suggested Assistance to Industry connection with primary industry. I feel that a department such as the one suggested by the hon. member for York South would indeed be a valuable addition in dealing with the problems of relocating secondary industry.
We have been talking, too, a great deal about the problems of training and about apprenticeship schemes. I feel it would be of value to have this department which could give advice and statistics to indicate trends to the Department of Labour when setting up new courses or new apprenticeship schemes.
I think that during this period of transition through which Canada is going the value of a department of industry would be readily seen. This department could look into the whole problem of the structure of our secondary industry. So often we tend to cram industry into one single area. I think this department could very well deal with that problem, just as it could with tariffs and the tax structure as they affect secondary industry. It has become almost a platitude over the past number of years to say that we have been exporting low employment content goods and importing high employment content goods. I am sure the government is concerned with this situation because it is one which we, as a nation, have to study. I think such a department could be a spur to activity in that area.
I know there are other members who wish to speak on this resolution, so I shall just close by commending the hon. member for introducing this motion this afternoon.

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