April 11, 1945

LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Just a moment; I will explain my point of view to my hon. friends. I was seeking to oblige not only all parties in this house but the parliament that will follow it. I was seeking to carry out what I believed to be the wish of the people of Canada, that we should devote as much time as possible to getting on with the business of the country. For that reason, as I say, n,o time was lost. Within two days following the adjournment of the house we had secured1 the agreement of the then sitting member for Grey North, Mr. Telford, who unfortunately had not been in good health, to resign, so as to permit the minister to run in that constituency, on the understanding that it would be simply for the purpose of coming into this house for the remainder of this parliament, to assist in its work. When that proposal was made public I am right when I say it was generally assumed that there would be no opposition. I was given

very strong grounds for believing that this would be the case. But I am .not going into the circumstances that occasioned the opposition. All I would say in regard to the election in Grey North is that if hon. gentlemen opposite believe, as they say, that the result of the bye-election signified that their policy of conscription for overseas service was endorsed by the electors of Grey North, unless my hon. friend the leader of the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (Mr. Coldwell) is prepared to say that his policy was the same as theirs-

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
?

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. COLDWELL:

It was not.

Mr. MACKENZIE .KING: -their candidate regards the policy of conscription has been returned by a minority of votes in Grey North, rather than by a majority. In other words the people of Grey North turned down

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

That applies to some ministers and to the leader of the government. The Prime Minister was returned by a minority vote.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If my hon. friend wishes to get in his word I am prepared to let him do so quietly, on his own, but I wish to be allowed to make my statement without interruption to this house. This is a matter which affects the whole question of government of the country, not only for the present but at all times. Let me put this position to my hon. friend who is interrupting me. Are we to have it assumed, first of all, that our parliamentary institutions, which are based on the working together of a government and an opposition, are not to be assisted and supported by the people of the country, especially in time of war, when the government has a right to count upon the reasonable cooperation not only of all parties in the House of Commons but of all the people in the country, particularly when its actions are directed wholly and solely toward promoting the war effort? I felt, having regard to all the circumstances, that to have the Minister of National Defence in parliament, in time of war, when we were going to discuss war measures, was wholly in the interests of all. But what was the position taken by hon. gentlemen immediately opposite? Every effort was made to prevent the minister from coming into the house, an effort in vdiich, in combination with another party, they were successful. May I ask, was that assisting the government in carrying on its -war effort? Carry that to its logical conclusion and what does it mean in its effect upon government in Canada?

Business of the House

Let me put this first. Let me take the position of the leader of the party opposite. The other day when my hon. friend, as leader of the official opposition in this house, was invited to be a member of the delegation to go to San Francisco, I was surprised to hear him say that he would first have to ask his leader, someone who has never been in this parliament at all, whether or not he should go. May I point this out, that from the beginning of this parliament, to this hour, there has been no leader of the Conservative or Progressive Conservative party in this House of Commons. Since the last general election, so far as the Conservative party is concerned, our relations to them have not been determined by the actions of the official opposition in this House of Commons. The control of the Conservative party has been carried on by some little, group outside the House of Commons altogether. Hon. gentlemen opposite have not themselves been debating issues here; in taking part in discussions they have been acting upon, obliged to act upon, or claiming to act upon the dictates of others.

What is to become of our parliamentary institutions if that is to continue? I had not intended to speak of this at the present time. I had intended to speak of it during the general election, but I might as well mention it now. Our parliamentary procedure is based on the assumption of a government and an opposition, so much so that parliament itself has recognized the official status of an opposition, and that the leader of the opposition carries a special responsibility, and because of that responsibility parliament has voted to the one holding that position a salary equivalent to that given a minister of the crown. That has been done, in order that he might, on his own responsibility-not upon the say of someone outside-but on his own responsibility, as leader of His Majesty's Loyal Opposition, take a stand which will enable him to maintain our parliamentary institutions in accordance with the authority and dignity vested in his official position.

Since the last general election, we have not had in this house the leader of the Progressive Conservative or any Conservative party. There has been an acting leader; there has been a house leader, but that is all. He, however, has not been the leader of the party. What is the position at the present time? We have offered to the leader of the Progressive Conservative party, time and again, opportunities to enter this House of Commons. But for two and a half years he has not been here. This government would welcome his presence here, merely to make it possible for him-

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
?

An hon. MEMBER:

York South.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

No, Grey

North. 'Why did he not run in Grey North?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

York South.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If hon. gentlemen opposite were testing the strength of their party and the strength of their leader, they would have had their leader run in Grey North against the Minister of National Defence.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

We let the people of Grey North decide that.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

What was his position? He would not come into parliament himself and he sought to do all he could to keep out of parliament a minister of the crown. Follow that land of thing, generally official, to its logical conclusion and you find the opposition taking the position that it will not be represented in parliament, but that if it can, it will do all in its power to keep out of parliament those who are taking part in the government of the country. As a result you have our parliamentary institutions completely sabotaged.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

That is not correct.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Just a moment. I did not bring up this matter. My hon. friend the leader of the opposition has asked me why I did not bring the present session on any sooner. I am to some extent responsible for the calling of parliament and I ask this house and the country this question: Does anyone believe that after the kind of by-election that was waged in Grey North, and having regard to all the circumstances of that election, this parliament of Canada, this House of Commons, if it had been called, or reassembled the next dajq would have been concerned, from beginning to end, with anything other than talking over and over and over again about what had happened in Grey North?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

You are talking about it now.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I made it clear at the time of the by-election that we were quite prepared to bring this House of Commons into being shortly after that event if we had-

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

Won the election.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If the minister had been in a position to take his seat.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

If you had won the election

you would have had a session of parliament.

Business of the House

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

I made perfectly clear what I would do, and what I was seeking to do. Hon. gentlemen opposite would have had all the time they wanted to criticize the administration, if they wished to do so.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

You did not do it, though.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink
LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; Secretary of State for External Affairs; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

And my hon.

friend was one who did more than anybody else-from what I can learn-to bring about a condition which would prevent that from taking place.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXPEDITING THE WORK OF THE SESSION- SUGGESTED MORNING SITTINGS
Permalink

April 11, 1945