I am not going to say that they get high salaries, because I do not think they do. That was not the point I was
trying to make. When they came to appoint a new general manager, these nine members of the board of governors could not find anybody in the whole eleven and one-half million people in Canada to appoint except one of their own members. The hon. member for Waterloo South (Mr. Homuth) can now make his interjection about the high salary paid to that official.
The report of the committee went further and asked that on the board there should be adequate representation of farm and labour. Where is it? When Doctor Thompson left the board a vacancy was created which has remained ever since. No working man has been appointed to the board. When great authority is placed in the hands of government owned corporations, the government should be particularly careful about the composition of the boards from occupational and other points of view. This care has not always been exercised.
I ask the government to give consideration to a policy which will bring back the supremacy of parliament once more, not just in theory but in practice, in order that some abuses which apparently have grown up shall not be allowed to continue and to extend. For quite a long time a clamour has arisen from all parts of this house for a better distribution of work. That clamour has not arisen just from one or two members on a certain side of the house. It has not been confined to any one political party. It echoes pretty generally t'he feeling all over the house that appropriate use should be made of the membership of the House of Commons, to say nothing of the embarrassing position in which the members of another chamber find themselves during this time. If the government's policy for the efficient use of manpower is. demonstrated by the way in which it uses the man-power in this and in another chamber, then I think some criticism must be offered of this master man-power plan.
There is another matter which has been in my thoughts for a long time. As members of the house we have a responsibility which perhaps we do not always shoulder, which perhaps we do not always realize. With every ounce of emphasis at my command I say that we should try to elevate the prestige of this chamber to a point higher than it is to-day. If we are to be proper instruments of democracy, we should so conduct ourselves in this chamber-we are all sinners in this regard and what. I am saying applies to myself as well as to other members, but that should not stop me-that the men and women who fill these galleries, whether they be from the farming sections, whether they represent labour, or
The Address-Mr. Graydon
more particularly whether they represent the branches of our armed forces, may be proud of the proceedings of the chamber. This is more important now than it has ever been.
I have a feeling that in many instances people do not go away with that thought in their minds. If democracy is to approach perfection, I think we must go a long way yet. There never was a time in the history of Canada when the people watched this chamber more carefully and with more interest. Everything we do, everything we say is recorded in the minds and in the thoughts of great sections of our people. I ask the Prime Minister and you, Mr. Speaker: Can this chamber meet that test at the present time? If it cannot, then we must see that it does meet that test no matter what reorientation or changes may be necessary. It is essential for the strengthening of the democratic state in this dominion.
There are many reforms which members of this house could suggest. I cannot agree with the answer given to me last Friday by the Prime Minister when I asked for a modernization of the rules and procedure of the house. He said that we should not do it in time of war; but it does not make any difference whether we are at war or at peace, the obligation faces us. We cannot delay in bringing this chamber to the point where it will be an exact and perfect reflection of the men and women across Canada whom we represent. I am so completely convinced of this that I hope you will accept my apologies for being so vehemently insistent. This chamber should be the reflection of a great dominion, but is it the true reflection that we would want it to be? That is a challenge which we have to meet. We are anxious to contribute wherever we can to creating a condition whereby this chamber will be a more exact reflection of what the ordinary man and woman across Canada expect in their representative body. Therefore I say to the Prime Minister and the government, let us be very careful how we conduct ourselves in this house. All of us make mistakes. Perhaps, being an amateur as leader of the opposition, I shall make more mistakes than a good many others. But whatever mistakes we make, let them be honest mistakes. The people of this country do not mind mistakes, but they want to know that when they are made, they are made with good intentions.
In Great Britain the prestige of parliament is high, because the leaders have kept it high. Perhaps there is no closer relationship anywhere in the world between parliament and people than in Britain to-day. I do not wish to make comparisons between our own house and the British House of Commons, but we have an example over there which we should try to emulate. I should like to see the Prime 72537-3i
Minister and all members of this house make every possible effort to measure up to what is expected of the parliaments of the British commonwealth of nations.
I like to think of that peerless leader of Britain in this period of war. I like to think of the prestige he has given to the British house, and of what he has done for public-morale in his own country and others which are- fighting along with it. I recall the closing: words of the British Prime Minister's speech in the spring of 1940 when he assumed the leadership of that great nation, at a time when it looked as though the whole world were collapsing, when it seemed as though democracy were about to perish from the face of the earth, when Britain seemed in imminent danger of invasion. With the thunder of battle overhead, without a shudder, without a shiver, with the grim determination and courgae for which he -is noted, he lifted the British people, yes, he lifted the world, and he uttered a challenge which will go down through the halls of time and should, I believe, find an echo here:
We shall never surrender. . . .
We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. . . .We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and streets and in the hills. . . .We shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island, or even part of it, is subjugated and starving, then our empire across the seas, armed and guarded by the British fleet, will carry on the struggle, until in God's good time, the new world, in all its strength and might, sets forth to the rescue and liberation of the old. . . .
That, Mr. Speaker, is the challenge I leave with this parliament-with the Prime Minister and all of us-to see to it that the kind of leadership which produced that statement and built the morale of Britain shall be given by members and leaders alike in this House of Commons. I ask every hon. member to think carefully and seriously of our duty and our obligation as the people's representatives.
I move, Mr. Speaker, seconded by the hon. member for Vancouver South (Mr. Green) in amendment to the address in reply to the speech from the throne, that the following words be added to the address:
"We respectfully submit to Your Excellency that this house regrets that Your Excellency's advisers have failed:
(a) to provide an adequate plan for the effective use of Canada's man and woman power:
(b) to adopt and carry through a rational labour policy which will ensure maximum production and give to labour its rightful position as one of the major partners in our Canadian democracy: and
(c) to provide adequate measures whereby Canadian agriculture can make its maximum war contribution and receive a fair share of the national income."
The Address-Mr. Mackenzie King
Subtopic: CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY