April 20, 1948

OFFICIAL REPORT

FOURTH SESSION-TWENTIETH PARLIAMENT 11-12 GEORGE VI, 1948 VOLUME IV, 1948 COMPRISING THE PERIOD FROM THE TWENTIETH DAY OF APRIL, 1948, TO THE NINETEENTH DAY OF MAY, 1948, INCLUSIVE BEING VOLUME CCLXIII FOR THE PERIOD 1875-1948 INDEX ISSUED IN A SEPARATE VOLUME OTTAWA


EDMOND CLOUTIER, C.M.G., B.A.. L.Ph., PRINTER TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY CONTROLLER OF STATIONERY 1948



Tuesday, April 20, 1948


RIGHT HON. W. L. MACKENZIE KING FELICITATIONS ON HOLDING OF OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER LONGER THAN ANY OTHER PRIME MINISTER OF A BRITISH COUNTRY

LIB

James Lorimer Ilsley (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Right Hon. J. L. ILSLEY (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Speaker, there are a few words which I should like to say to the house. The Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) has today reached another milestone in his remarkable career, and I am sure that the house would wish to give some recognition to the occasion.

It is no small achievement to have held the high office of prime minister, not only longer than any former prime minister of Canada, but also longer than anyone has held the office of prime minister in any country of the British empire.

What the Prime Minister has attained is a world record as the elected leader of a free nation. That such an achievement has been possible is of course a proof of his rare and impressive personal qualities. But it is also an indication of the stability of our people and of the completeness with which they have adapted British institutions to Canadian conditions.

My remarks, I need hardly say, are in no sense intended as a party manifestation. I would hope that my sentiments would be shared by all members of the house. But speaking on behalf of the Prime Minister's political supporters in the house, and I think I can also speak for his political supporters throughout the country, I count it a privilege to extend to him on this occasion our sincere congratulations.

Topic:   RIGHT HON. W. L. MACKENZIE KING FELICITATIONS ON HOLDING OF OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER LONGER THAN ANY OTHER PRIME MINISTER OF A BRITISH COUNTRY
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PC

John Ritchie MacNicol

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. R. MacNICOL (Davenport):

Mr. Speaker, there are indeed occasions when all partisanship can be laid to one side, and I think the present is an occasion on which we can all join in recognition of the very high distinction that has come to the right hon. the Prime Minister in the fact that he has held office as prime minister longer than any other prime minister in any of the British dominions or in the dear old motherland itself.

I understand that today the right hon. gentleman exceeds the long tenure of office of Sir Robert Walpole, whose portrait hangs among those of other famous men in the corridor leading to the restaurant on the sixth floor.

In my childhood we used to read a good deal about Sir Robert Walpole, and we were struck by the fact that he had held office for so long a time.

Today, Mr. Speaker, I feel very humble. My leader (Mr. Bracken) just a moment ago sent word asking me to speak after the right hon. the Minister of Justice. The Prime Minister and I have something in common, not shared by any others in this house. Our mothers were warm friends as girls in Toronto, and many a time I heard my own mother speak of the right hon. gentleman. It is therefore with great pleasure that I rise to voice the sentiments of this side of the house, in the official opposition, in congratulating the Prime Minister on the high distinction he has brought to Canada, in placing this country at the head of all other parts of the empire, including the old land itself, in his length of tenure of office as prime minister.

Personally I hope the Prime Minister will live for many years yet, and if he does retire, as he has intimated he will, I hope that in his days in private life he will be afforded the opportunity to write that which this country needs so much, his own memoirs; because, apart altogether from politics, those memoirs will cover a wide field and a long period, and will include those who went before the right hon. gentleman.

I felicitate the Prime Minister and wish him long life and good health.

Topic:   RIGHT HON. W. L. MACKENZIE KING FELICITATIONS ON HOLDING OF OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER LONGER THAN ANY OTHER PRIME MINISTER OF A BRITISH COUNTRY
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, we of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation join in felicitation of the Prime Minister on this occasion. It is indeed a remarkable achievement to have been prime minister of this great country for approximately twenty-one years. It is just over two hundred years since Sir Robert Walpole relinquished the reins of office, having been in reality and in very truth the first prime minister of any country now included in this great commonwealth of nations which share a common democratic heritage and common parliamentary institutions.

Felicitations to Prime Minister

The Prime Minister has made a great contribution to the growing up, if I may put it that way, of this country; to the achievement of its maturity as a nation. Since the time he came into office at the end of the first world war, succeeding Sir Robert Borden, who had insisted on Canada signing the treaty of Versailles in its own right, he has witnessed and aided the growth of that nationhood of which we are all proud. While we remember Walpole as the first Prime Minister of Britain, the present Prime Minister of Canada will perhaps be remembered for many things, but one of them will be that, during his long term of office, Canada in very truth obtained recognition throughout the world as a sovereign nation.

Topic:   RIGHT HON. W. L. MACKENZIE KING FELICITATIONS ON HOLDING OF OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER LONGER THAN ANY OTHER PRIME MINISTER OF A BRITISH COUNTRY
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SC

John Horne Blackmore

Social Credit

Mr. J. H. BLACKMORE (Lethbridge):

It affords the members of the Social Credit group, Mr. Speaker, great pleasure to be able to join with the other members of the house in congratulating the Prime Minister on this day. We congratulate him on his achievements as Prime Minister. He has been called upon to stand at the head of affairs in this nation while we have been passing through trying times. What is yet ahead, no one can tell. He may yet be called upon to render great service to this nation. In case he should be, we wish him health, strength and good spirits, that he may be able to discharge any other responsibilities he may be called upon to assume.

( Translation):

Right Hon. L. S. ST. LAURENT (Secretary of State for External Affairs): Mr. Speaker, it will seem fitting, I am sure, that a Frenchspeaking voice should join with those we have just heard in extending to the Right Hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Mackenzie King) a tribute of admiration, affection, gratitude and warm wishes on this day when his term of office as leader of one of the Commonwealth states equals that of the prime minister who, before him, had headed one of these states longer than anyone else.

It is a fact worth recording because it illustrates not only the continuity of our prime minister's services but also the ease with which we adapt ourselves to the parliamentary system modelled on the long experience of Westminster:

The fathers of confederation gave us a constitution basically similar to that of the United Kingdom and, though our parliament has not yet existed a full 81 years, already one of its leaders has served as prime minister as long as any other in the several centuries since the foundation of the institution upon which our own is patterned.

We have indeed cause to rejoice over such a fact just as we have cause to rejoice over the opportunity we are given today of extending our congratulations to the one who, more than anyone else in our nation, has contributed with such constancy in investing our parliament with the stamp of dignity, of stability, and with such substantial pledges for the future.

(Text):

Topic:   RIGHT HON. W. L. MACKENZIE KING FELICITATIONS ON HOLDING OF OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER LONGER THAN ANY OTHER PRIME MINISTER OF A BRITISH COUNTRY
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PC

Thomas Langton Church

Progressive Conservative

Mr. T. L. CHURCH (Broadview):

As a former head of the city of Toronto, Mr. Speaker, I wish to add a word of tribute to what has already been so well said by the others who have spoken today.

I think I have known the Prime Minister longer than almost any other person here in the house. I have always had a great deal of admiration and respect for him. I knew his father, who was a beloved professor in the law school when I attended it. I knew his mother, his father and all his family. I have always had a high regard for him personally, because of his kindness of heart to all his friends. I will say this about him. He has given a long life of able and brilliant service to our country. I am one of those in the house who has never allowed religion or politics to mix up with friendship.

I will always remember what his distinguished parents have done for this country. His grandfather was the first mayor of our city, in 1834. I was in Toronto the other day, and I may say that a large tablet is erected there marking his grandfather's grave. One of my last acts as head of the city was, I think, in December 1921. I remember his brother, who was a great member of the medical profession. His body arrived at the Union station, and as head of the city I accompanied it for burial. I have always remembered the kindness of heart of the Prime Minister.

Mr. JEAN-FRANCOIS POULIOT (Temis-couata): It is refreshing, Mr. Speaker, to hear such speeches as these on an occasion like this. Mr. King has been my only leader for a long time, and perhaps he will be my only one; I do not know about that. He has been my leader most of the time, to the extent that my conscience permitted me to follow him.

There is one thing that I find quite unusual, and it lies in the calling to mind of the length of time a man has been in office; the time has seemed to be so short. Mr. King is still so youthful looking that it is hard to believe he has been here longer than Walpole-who has been dead for a long time-was prime minister of Britain. I do not think it is fair to compare

Felicitations to Prime Minister

a living man who is in good health with a dead one. It is unjust to do that. But it can be said that everybody meant well.

The cabinet ministers spoke well. My good friend the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNieol) made a moving speech. So did the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church); the leader of the C.C.E. party, and the member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore) acting as leader of the Social Credit party, also spoke very well. I regret that we have not enough celebrations of this kind. We had one for Mr. King on the occasion of his birthday, and at the time of the unveiling of his picture in the House of Commons. On another occasion, when he left for a trip outside of Canada, we wished him godspeed; and on his return he was welcomed. But I think there should be celebrations like that for every member of the House of Commons. We have a gracious member amongst us, the hon. member for Qu'Appelle (Mrs. Strum). Why do we not join together in order to hold a celebration in her honour?

The spirit of the House of Commons is better today than it usually is. Why? Because politics have been forgotten for a time. That is a good thing. We are here together. We are in the same boat. I notice once more that Mr. King has some very good friends amongst his critics. Those who flatter him are not always his true friends. They may expect something, but he is too great a man to pay attention to flattery. I am sure that at times he appreciates criticism much more than flattery, because he must surely give the one who may criticize, the benefit of the doubt.

Now, sir, in the hope that you and all my colleagues will be honoured in turn on fine occasions like this, I offer my congratulations and good wishes to Mr. King, as this is a good precedent for other celebrations of the same kind to honour each one of our colleagues in turn.

Topic:   RIGHT HON. W. L. MACKENZIE KING FELICITATIONS ON HOLDING OF OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER LONGER THAN ANY OTHER PRIME MINISTER OF A BRITISH COUNTRY
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LIB

William Lyon Mackenzie King (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Right Hon. W. L. MACKENZIE KING (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, may I at once extend my good wishes to every hon. member of this house, and my warmest thanks for the generous expressions of good will to which I have listened this afternoon. I do not think I need say that it would be much easier and pleasanter for me to be extending congratulations tie hon. members in different parts of the house than to be attempting to acknowledge the kind words that have been extended to me. Nevertheless these occasions do come along. They have been coming much too rapidly of late; time has been flying by much too quickly. To have been able to retain over 5849-199J

many years the confidence and good will of those closest to one in public life is in itself something for which one should indeed be more than grateful. I should like hon. members to know that for their confidence, over so long period of time, I am indeed deeply grateful.

I thank very warmly my colleague the Minister of Justice (Mr. Ilsley) and my colleague the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. St. Laurent) for what they have so kindly said on behalf of the members of the government, and the members of the party with which I have been associated during the greater part of my life. They need no words of acknowledgment, but rather would I express gratitude to them for what their lives and the lives of those on whose behalf they have spoken, have meant to mine; what the loyalty, the industry and the ability of those by whom, over the years, I have been surrounded in council has meant so far 'as my life is concerned in bringing this day to pass.

I thank most warmly all members of the Liberal party, those 'in this house and those outside it, who have given me their support, for having made possible the years of office it has been my privilege to enjoy.

Need I say, Mr. Speaker, that St has touched me not a little that words from hon. gentlemen of the official opposition should have come from two hon. members who have been not only close personal friends over many years, but who also have had close associations with those who have been nearest and dearest to me in my life. It has been, perhaps, a part of my misfortune that so much of my time in public life has been lived more or less alone. But that has only served to cause me to realize more deeply, than perhaps I otherwise would have, how much I owe in what there may have been by way of accomplishment to those whose example and whose lives have meant more than all else to mine. I thank the hon. member for Davenport (Mr. MacNieol) for his close friendship, and for his reference to the friendship of our mothers, before either of us was born. I also thank the hon. member for Broadview (Mr. Church), who has had close associations with members of our family in the past, for having spoken so generously of what that association has meant.

I need not say how deeply I appreciate the kindly sentiments expressed by my friend the leader of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (Mr. Coldwell) and those of my friend the hon. member for Lethbridge (Mr. Blackmore), who has spoken on behalf of the leader of the Social Credit party. To both

Felicitations to Prime Minister

I am deeply indebted for what they have so kindly said, and to their followers for the cordial manner in which they have responded to their expressions of good will. In passing, 1 should like to say to the hon. member for Lethbridge how much I regret the absence from the house through illness of the leader of the Social Credit party. I hope the hon. gentleman will express to his leader my good wishes, and my hope that he may speedily return to this house in health and strength.

To my friend the hon. member for Temis-couata (Mr. Pouliot), I also feel indebted for what he, too, has said. I appreciate the friendship I have shared with him, as I do the loyalty and friendship I have had in such full measure from all hon. members on this side of the house.

Mr. Speaker, I had been told that something might be said this afternoon to which I would be expected to reply. Not being too sure, feeling as I have during the past few days, that I might not omit what I most wished to say, I wrote out a word or two this morning which with the permission of the house I should like to read. It expresses what I feel most deeply about this particular moment, in relation to our parliament. I hope hon. members will believe that I speak in an impersonal way in seeking to convey what I feel to be the significance of this occasion.

It is well, I think, we should all have in mind just what has occasioned today's congratulations. To do so, at all events, will make it a little easier for me fittingly to acknowledge what others have found it possible to say. It will make clear, too, that it is to others I owe whatever merit there may be in the long years of office I have been privileged to enjoy. This is what I have written.

It is with a record-a sort of long distance record-in the matter of the time of holding high office in the state that our thoughts and our words are concerned for a moment this afternoon. If records are to be related to countries, then I am indeed happy that it has been my good fortune to be the one to win a record-an unequalled record, I am proud to say-which redounds to the credit of Canada.

What pleases me in equal measure is that a record achieved in our country, and in Canada's parliament, under our system of free, representative, responsible government, should be of great significance to the world today in the struggle we are witnessing between totalitarianism and democracy. The struggle today in many lands, and indeed it has become a

world struggle, is again the age-long one between freedom and tyranny, between democracy and totalitarianism. Today's record makes clear that to gain and to retain power in a free country, to help shape the policies of its government, it is not necessary that the head of a political party or of an administration should be either a superman or a dictator.

It has been well said that the symbol of democracy is the secret ballot; that the symbol of totalitarianism is the secret police. The record of which mention is being made today is attributable to the protection afforded the majority, by the secret ballot. Nowhere about this record is there the sinister shadow of a secret police. It signifies the opportunities which democracies afford to a man of average industry, intelligence and integrity, who is prepared to give his time to public service. It speaks volumes for what, in a democracy, is possible for the individual.

Now let me return to the spoken word. I need not say how grateful I am to have been spared in health and strength to enjoy an honour I had never sought, and to the possibility of which, until obliged to do so by the all too rapid passing of time, I had never so much as given a thought.

I am particularly proud to possess this honour at the instance of the people of Canada. I cannot say how grateful I am to mjr fellow citizens who have given me their confidence over so long a period of time. Nor can I say how much I owe to the loyalty and ability of those of my party who surround me today, and to those who through my years of office- totalling twenty-one years within two months from today-have given me such unfailing and devoted support. I have, too, very much in mind how much I owe to the officials and other members of our public service, and to the many friends without whose help over the years I could not have begun to meet the least of the obligations of my present position.

It is with mixed feelings indeed that I express my gratitude for the many evidences of good will of which I have been the recipient today, from within and without these halls of parliament, from many other parts of our country, and from friends in countries other than our own. I should find much greater satisfaction in the occasion were its emphasis upon years of office to which I might still look forward in this period of transition in the world's history, rather than so exclusively upon years that have flown by so quickly and are gone forever.

To me personally, however, this day is one of thankfulness. I am particularly thankful

Industrial Defence Board

that I have been spared to participate during so many years in the public life of our country, and to see the high place Canada has come to hold in the regard of other nations. I am thankful, too, that having been in office for so long a time, I have so many-I might almost say "any"-friends left. This is the more surprising, and may I add the more pleasing, in that I have had, of recent years, so little opportunity to see anything at all of many of my fellow members, or to share with them, inside or outside these halls of parliament, the personal and social contacts which are so all-important and so enjoyable.

May I say in conclusion that I rejoice above all at the opportunity public life has afforded me to render some service to my fellowmen. This service I trust through years to come may be helpful to many.

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VETERANS AFFAIRS

THIRD REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE


Third report of the special committee on veterans affairs.-Mr. Mutch.


CHANGE IN PERSONNEL OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE

LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. LIONEL CHEVRIER (Minister of Transport) moved:

That the name of Mr. Halle be substituted for that of Mr. Baker on the special committee on veterans affairs.

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Motion agreed to.


PRIVILEGE

MR. MITCHELL-PRESS REPORTS WITH RESPECT TO GOVERNMENT ANNUITIES

LIB

Humphrey Mitchell (Minister of Labour)

Liberal

Hon. HUMPHREY MITCHELL (Minister of Labour):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. Yesterday I tabled orders and made a statement in the house to the effect that the interest rate on payments on government annuity contracts had been reduced from four to three per cent. I stated on that occasion:

These matters have effect as of the 19th day of April, 1948, but do not change existing contracts.

I notice in this morning's Globe and Mail of Toronto that, with respect to this matter, and referring to what I said, it states:

It would, he pointed out, affect contracts already in force.

This is entirely the opposite of what I did say; and I trust the Globe and Mail will make a correction for the benefit of its readers who have been purchasers of government annuities.

I am sorry also to have to refer to a report on this matter appearing in today's Montreal Gazette. This states that the change in interest

rates was forced by the representations of private business. That is not correct. I have not to my recollection met any of the business interests referred to in this matter-and I have been in the ministry for more than six and a half years.

The change was made, as I have stated, to bring the rate in line with that paid on government securities. The Gazette also reports alleged claims of private business that the government annuities scheme has been subsidized out of tax funds to the extent of $4,500,000 a year. This is a gross inaccuracy. The average annual mortality losses to the government in the past five years has been $400,000. The government pays the cost of administration of the annuities act. The average annual cost for the last five years was $437,000.

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Subtopic:   MR. MITCHELL-PRESS REPORTS WITH RESPECT TO GOVERNMENT ANNUITIES
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April 20, 1948