George Alexander Drew (Leader of the Official Opposition)
Subtopic: INTERIM SUPPLY
Motion agreed to, bill read the second time and the house went into committee thereon, Mr. Macdonald (Brantford City) in the chair. On section 1-Short title.
What is the total amount of estimates, including those originally introduced and all supplementaries?
Hon. Douglas Abbott (Minister of Finance):
Mr. Chairman, I shall have to take a moment to make the arithmetical calculation. The main estimates which were introduced, and which my hon. friend has before him, including the statutory items, total $2,217,678,181. The Newfoundland supplementaries, which I have not before me at the present time, were approximately $55 million, making a total for the current year of some $2,272 million. Perhaps my hon. friend would accept that round figure, on the understanding that I could give him the exact information later. It is a matter of record.
Did the minister not mention any supplementary estimates?
No supplementary estimates have been tabled, with the exception of the Newfoundland supplementaries.
Are there to be any supplementary estimates?
That will be a matter for the new government to decide.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to have a final word with respect to a matter of some importance which should be considered by the government in office when we reassemble at the next session. There is one problem which, to its disgrace I would say, the parliament of Canada has never attempted to tackle.
When parliament reassembles a certain number of hon. members who today sit in the House of Commons will have been defeated in the election-and perhaps after they have
given decades of good and faithful service to the country they have tried to serve in a public capacity. At the present time there are men standing for nomination who perhaps have no source of income other than the indemnity which, under our system of government, we authorize for those members. It is all very well for members who have been able to maintain practices or businesses of some sort, making it possible for them to leave parliament and to carry on with some assurance of security.
During this session I have watched the voting of large sums for the payment of pensions to people in the public service, and small sums to others who perhaps have played no part in the public service but who have been considered proper recipients of pensions from public funds. But no consideration is given to those who have sat in the House of Commons year after year and who, regardless of party, have served the best interests of Canada as they knew them. Their only hope for security in their old age, or when they are no longer able to work actively in the house, is that they may be sitting on the government side at a time when they might get someone to plug for them for inclusion among the pensioners over in the other place. Only ninety-six people can get into that category at any given time. I see in his place today the right hon. gentleman who until recently was prime minister of Canada. I am sure that during his long years of parliamentary experience he must have seen many pitiful instances of men in public service, who, having given their all for their country, have come near the end of the road and found themselves without any visible means of support.
It seems to me the House of Commons should provide for those of its members who, shall we say, have served throughout at least three or four parliaments. There should be some recognition by way of gratuitious pension, or some other means by which we could give recognition to these people-and I make this suggestion regardless of party.
Section agreed to. Sections 2 to 8 inclusive agreed to. Schedules agreed to.
Shall I report the bill?
Mr. Abbott moved
that the bill be read the third time.
Is it the pleasure of the house to adopt the motion?
Dissolution of Parliament Mr. Drew: On division.
Motion agreed to and bill read the third time and passed.
I have the honour to inform the house that I have received the following communication:
Ottawa, April 30, 1949
I have the honour to inform you that the Right Hon. Thibaudeau Rinfret, acting as deputy of His Excellency the Governor General, will proceed today to the Senate chamber at 12 o'clock noon for the purpose of proroguing the present session of parliament.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
J. F. Delaute,
Assistant Secretary to the Governor General
Right Hon. L. S. St. Laurent (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, may I ask leave to revert to motions in order to table two orders in council to which His Excellency the Governor General gave approval last evening. The one provides that the present parliament will be dissolved as of April 30, 1949, and that a new parliament be called together and a proclamation, bearing date of April 30, 1949, be issued dissolving the present parliament.
The other provides that a new parliament be summoned and that a proclamation be issued, bearing date of April 30, 1949, calling such new parliament together and directing the issue of writs of election for a general election of persons to serve as members of the House of Commons; such writs of election to be dated April 30, 1949, fixing June 27, 1949, as the polling day of the said elections; said writs to be returnable on August 25, 1949.
It is also provided that a proclamation do issue, dated April 30, 1949, summoning
parliament to meet on Thursday, September 1, 1949, at the city of Ottawa. That of course is the usual pro forma notification for the new parliament. It will be the responsibility of the government in office after the election to determine when parliament will be summoned for the dispatch of business. It is the intention of His Excellency to issue these proclamations immediately after the business of this session shall have been completed and the house prorogued.
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