Mr. J. G. TURGEON (Cariboo):
Mr. Speaker, speaking to this matter of reconstruction I would be untrue to myself if I were not immediately to put on record some of the thoughts already expressed by me to audiences outside the House of Commons respecting the manner in which the committee on reconstruction and reestablishment has carried on its work.
As has been said before, the members of that committee come from every geographical division of Canada. They are representative of practically every school of political thought in the land; and yet at no time did party politics ever intrude, or cast its shadow across our discussions and deliberations. As chairman of that committee may I express to the Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) my appreciation not only of the words he used to-day when referring to the committee, but of the manner which he, as Prime Minister and President of the Privy Council, and his government have given consideration to the various recommendations contained in the reports of that committee.
When the Prime Minister spoke he referred in eloquent terms to the nature of the work accomplished by the expenditure of money during a time of war, and he contrasted the expenditure of money in war time with the expenditure of equal or necessary sums of money for peace-time purposes. In view of what he said I should like to read part of [Mr. MacNicol.l
one paragraph from the report of the committee, which was tabled by me in June, 1943. We said:
When war is over some other definite aim must take its place as a motivating cause of national economic activity. Thoughts of those who return to us from the field of battle and of the dependents of those who die, and of what they fought and died for, will supply the aim. Your committee is certain that the means of doing so will be found in the conservation and proper utilization of our natural resources, and in the decision that markets will be sought for our production by governmental intervention where necessary from time to time. In this respect we welcome the conclusion arising from the united nations food conference that never again will food be destroyed simply because people have not enough money to buy it.
A little later in the few minutes during which I shall address the house-because I intend to close at six o'clock-I shall make reference to the manner in which money may be procured, if emergency should arise. Before doing that, however, I would turn to some other matters, and would deal first with a further statement appearing in the report of the committee in January:
Your committee feel that it is well within the power of governments and industry to maintain full employment for all Canadians during the period of transition from war to peace-time activities.
Then we went on to deal with the provisions which must be-I was going to say "ought" to be, but I believe "must" is the better word- made for the returning veterans. In that connection I would call the attention of the house to paragraph (e) of section 2 of the bill, where we find the definition of the word "reconstruction". It says:
"Reconstruction" means the reestablishment in civil life and reemployment on demobilization of the men and women of the armed services, of persons released from war industries, and the reorganization of industry, in order to provide maximum production and full employment during and following the change-over from war-time production of industry to peace-time production, and includes every undertaking by dominion, provincial or municipal authority or by any corporation or other person which may contribute to such reorganization.
I agree with the Prime Minister as to the change he suggested in the explanatory note, but it would be difficult to give to the department duties of a more general or more onerous nature. This, therefore, is a recognition of the fact that the government realizes and is determined to carry out every step necessary to maintain economic activity in the days of peace. The definition includes the two phases set out to-day by the Prime Minister, namely, those of domestic and international economies, depending upon trade and
Department oj Reconstruction
commerce which, in turn, depend upon the relations between Canada and other nations of the world.
The Prime Minister made a brief reference to the fact that the conduct of Canada during this period of war has been a sort of preface to the work which must necessarily be done by Canada in days of peace. I should like to bring to the attention of hon. members the truth of that statement. We have debated, and there has been discussed in the country, the question of mutual aid, and all it implies. I shall not go into details in that matter. This mutual aid policy has built up in favour of Canada an extremely good feeling among those allied nations in the company of which Canada is fighting this war against Germany and Japan-and formerly against Italy.
Then we must consider the conduct of the war, as it is carried on partly by civilians, governmental officials and others, and especially by the youth of Canada who to-day and for some years past have been fighting the battles of those of us who must remain at home. The nature of the struggle they have been carrying on is such that when, the war being over, a minister of the crown or a government official comes to deal with officials of other nations with a view to bringing about trade and commerce or any other interrelation, he will have had the way paved for him by the courage and determination of our young men and women who are fighting our battles overseas to-day and who in the future will be fighting on the Pacific against Japan.
While trade and commerce are absolutely essential to the maintenance of a full economy, I believe that, regardless of the good relations we hope and feel assured will be ours when the war is done, we can never be certain of the nature and course of entangling alliances when the war is over. We hope for the best, and so long as the present Prime Minister is at the helm of affairs those relations will be of the best. My point is that, regardless of what we may attain by international trade and commerce, it is the supreme duty of the government and this house to make certain that in any event our domestic economy will be in proper condition from the time this war ends, and for all the time following.
Subtopic: ESTABLISHMENT OF DEPARTMENT TO FORMULATE AND CARRY OUT RECONSTRUCTION PLANS