April 11, 1945

NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

The people of Grey North did that.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

And, further to what I have said, there was no obligation, under the constitution of Canada, nothing in the procedure of parliament itself, to render it necessary for the government to call another session. There was absolutely nothing. We had had our five sessions, and we know that this parliament has been one of the longest in the history of Canada. There was no obligation on the government. But the government, once it was clear that a general election could not be brought on before the victory loan campaign was over, anxious to do what was fitting, deemed it desirable to bring the House of Commons together for the purpose of voting the necessary interim supply which would be required over the time of the general election and the reassembling of a new parliament.

May I state there is another reason why parliament was called into special session. That was the invitation to the San Francisco conference. It was obviously desirable, the moment it was known that the conference on world security was to be called, that Canada should be represented at that conference. That rendered necessary the holding of the general election some time after the conference. But I say, if there had been no victory loan and no San Francisco conference and the decisive battles had been fought, this country in all probability would either have had an election over at this time, or would have been in the middle of it, or near the end of it. Once we had to consider the two things, the war loan and the San Francisco conference, apart altogether from the time of the cessation of hostilities, it meant that we had to hold the general election after those two events.

_ Here again may I say that the government is only too anxious to allow just sufficient time for an appeal to be made properly to the people of Canada after those two events are' concluded, before the day of polling itself. So far as this session is concerned, all we are asking for is to give the people of Canada what they are entitled to have under the constitution, namely the right to determine under conditions governing a general election what government is to be in power in Canada for the next five years, and for the House of Commons to make this possible, through moneys supplied1 by parliament, rather than by governor general's warrants. That is what we are seeking to have done; let the people decide the government they want.

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

That is what they decided in Grey North; let the people decide.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

That is

another illusion my hon. friends have. They think the by-election, conducted in the manner in which the by-election in Grey North was conducted, was the voice of the people of Canada. They were never more mistaken. As hon. members must know, the government throughout the campaign did not extend the issue in that by-election beyond the one purpose stated; namely, that of making it possible for the Minister of National Defence to be in the House of Commons in the event of its being thought advisable and necessary to hold another session. We refused to discuss general issues. The purpose of the by-election was not for the discussion of general issues, at all.

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NAT

James Arthur Ross

National Government

Mr. ROSS (Souris):

It certainly was.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

It was only for one thing. But hon. members opposite raised all kinds of issues, aroused all kinds of prejudices, all kinds of passions; everything that is worst in the public life of the country they tried to bring into that campaign.

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

It was just a lack of confidence in the government.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

When the

appeal to the country is made hon. members opposite will find what the people of Canada as a whole thought of the way the by-election in Grey North was carried1 on by them from beginning to end.

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

The people of North Grey answered you.

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PC

Alfred Henry Bence

Progressive Conservative

Mr. BENCE:

Why don't you put Ralston back?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Before hon. gentlemen opposite talk about putting anyone back who has already served in this house for many years they had better get into the House of Commons their leader, who has never been inside the house.

Business of the House

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LIB

Ian Alistair Mackenzie (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE (Vancouver Centre):

How do you like that over there?

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

He will be in the Prime Minister's place next fall.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

My hon. friend says, "he will be in," and what will happen to him if he gets in? If hon. gentlemen opposite follow what they have done over the last five years they will have some persons outside the house, some little group-I will not say where they will be located or who they are-but a little invisible group dictating the behaviour and the whole policy of the party.

To come back to the question raised by my hon. friend the leader of the opposition,

I have already said that the government had called this session to consider the San Francisco conference matter and to consider as well the voting of the necessary war appropriations and supply to tide the country over the period of a general election. There are only two ways in which the war effort and civil government can be carried on during the period of the election, and that is by moneys voted by this house or appropriated by governor general's warrants. I stated when the house first met that we would sit from Monday until Friday, that we would not rise for Wednesday evenings, which is the practice we would ordinarily have adopted, but that we would sit the full day on all sitting days for the conduct of public business. We intend to do that till the last moment the house sits, if the house decides to sit until the last moment.

But I ask my hon. friend when he suggests to me that I should baigain with him as to the house sitting on Saturday and other mornings until we get through, will he give me a guarantee that no other members but himself and those of his party are going to speak at undue length and that by sitting on Saturday or even Sunday, were such a thing to be thought of, other members will not be determined to have the house run until the last hour of the last day so that in the absence of the war appropriations and supply being voted1 the country's business would have to be carried on during the next four or five months under governor general's warrants.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Will the Prime Minister permit me?

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

Certainly.

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NAT

Gordon Graydon (Leader of the Official Opposition)

National Government

Mr. GRAYDON:

Our party has considered this matter, and we are very anxious that the discussion should be brought to an end so

that royal assent may be given on Saturday.

I cannot guarantee what members down in the corner will do, nor can I give any guarantee with respect to members on the government side of the house. May I point out to my right hon. friend, who has made a plea for speed in the house, that I took the trouble to find out who was holding up business, and I find that outside of the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of National Defence, who took up considerable time-and I am not complaining about that at all-twenty-three columns of Hansard on one day were consumed by government speakers, outside of the Department of National Defence; eighteen columns by Independents down in the corner; nine by the C.C.F.; seven by the Social Credit group, and seven columns by ourselves. I cannot guarantee to the Prime Minister what other people will do, buj I can say that our party is anxious to close up the discussion and to get the war appropriation and the supply bills through so that royal assent may be given in the regular fashion on Saturday.

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NAT

William Earl Rowe

National Government

Mr. ROWE:

We have had an hour spent in a post-mortem this afternoon.

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LIB

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

Liberal

Mr. MACKENZIE KING:

If the whips and the leaders will meet together and come to an agreement that they are prepared to have prorogation on Saturday provided this house sits to-morrow morning and Friday morning at eleven o'clock, I am prepared to say on behalf of the government that we will agree to that arrangement, but if we cannot get that agreement I can see no use in sitting in the mornings or on Saturday and we will continue to sit if necessary on Monday and see whether or not we are to get by votes of this house before the term of parliament expires, what is necessary to carry on the business of the country thereafter for the next four or five months.

May I say to my hon. friend that I am obliged to him for the suggestion he has just made and I thank both him and his party for being prepared to give the undertaking he has proposed.

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?

Thomas Miller Bell

Mr. M. J. COLD WELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, I see very little use in coming to arrangements or agreements regarding the shortening of the session when this afternoon for a w'hole hour we have had a political discussion between two major parties. We in this group have endeavoured to facilitate the business of the house, and I know that my hon. friends to my left have endeavoured [DOT] to do so to the very best of their ability; yet we have seen on the government side of the house member after member rise and make speeches which often had very little bearing

San Francisco Conference

on the subject matter actually before the Chair. I and those associated with me have been most anxious .to see the business of the house concluded this week, but if this kind of discussion proceeds every day and the major parties continue to use up time which might be used for the discussion of the appropriations and estimates, I and my colleagues cannot be responsible for what happens. I think it is only fair that I should say that.

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April 11, 1945