April 3, 1952

STATEMENT OF MR. COLDWELL AS TO MEMBERS' OPINIONS AND PARTY DISCIPLINE

LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Jean Francois Pouliot (Temiscouaia):

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. I was rather surprised to read in yesterday's Ottawa J ournal that the hon. member for Rosetown-Biggar (Mr. Coldwell) had expressed some comments about members of parliament in a speech that he delivered yesterday. The article is entitled "Coldwell's opinion: feels M.P.'s and Senators put party discipline before consciences." I was greatly surprised to read that, because I would not have said it about the hon. member or any other member in this house. I cannot conceive of any member, living and working with us, speaking in that way about all of us. As one who believes that Liberalism is synonymous with independence-

An horn Member: The word perhaps, but not the practice.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MR. COLDWELL AS TO MEMBERS' OPINIONS AND PARTY DISCIPLINE
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LIB

Jean-François Pouliot

Liberal

Mr. Pouliot:

I shall ask the hon. member to keep quiet, because I am coming to his defence, although he does not realize it.

Perhaps the report is inaccurate. I should be very glad if it were, and I should not be at all surprised. My dealings with the hon. member have always been extremely pleasant. If the situation is as the headline indicates: "Coldwell's opinion: feels M.P.'s and Senators put party discipline before consciences," and if he is accurately reported, I am surprised. I never noticed it, because I give every one of my colleagues the benefit of the doubt. Even when they differ, I am sure that they are sincere. For my part, I have never sold my birthright for a mess of pottage, and I do not know anyone among my colleagues who has done so.

In the first paragraph it is stated that the hon. member was speaking of "leading Conservatives and Liberals in both the Commons and the Senate." I am not a leading Liberal; and if I were, taking what was said literally, it would not apply to me. As a member of the House of Commons who was here when the hon. gentleman was presented to Mr. Speaker, and for a long time before that, may I say that I cannot stand for that kind of language being used with

regard to the membership of the House of Commons. I differ with my colleagues. Sometimes the argument is heated. While they may not agree with my views, I admit that they are sincere just the same.

In these times, when we hear so much about human rights and fundamental freedoms, I am surprised that I should be the one to rise on a question of privilege on a matter like this. Having spoken of "leading Conservatives and Liberals in both the Commons and the Senate", the hon. gentleman is reported as follows:

Men who hold the views we do, fail to express them.

Let him look at the index of Hansard and he will see that I have expressed my view quite a number of times in the House of Commons, and have done so quite independently. I will also tell him that in the Liberal party we have more freedom than has anyone in his own group. The hon. member says this, according to the Ottawa Journal:

" "While party discipline is essential," he said, "there are times when men who believe their party is wrong should exercise the right to satisfy their own conscience."

I do not intend to read any more of the article. I am extremely sorry that this has been said. I am sure that the hon. gentleman, who is a gentleman, is himself sorry to have spoken in this way. I am sure he realizes that, and I hope he will not slander his colleagues any more when talking outside of the House of Commons. I will also tell him that this is most dangerous language to use; because in these times especially no member of the House of Commons should say anything like that with regard to his colleagues.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

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

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to say that the article carried in the newspaper is substantially correct in this particular, namely, that I was discussing the problem of party discipline and of party loyalty. As the press says, I stated that there were times in the House of Commons when hon. gentlemen felt bound by party discipline or by party loyalty either to remain silent or to vote not always according to dictates of their consciences.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MR. COLDWELL AS TO MEMBERS' OPINIONS AND PARTY DISCIPLINE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

I said that.

House of Commons

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MR. COLDWELL AS TO MEMBERS' OPINIONS AND PARTY DISCIPLINE
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?

An hon. Member:

Speak for yourself.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MR. COLDWELL AS TO MEMBERS' OPINIONS AND PARTY DISCIPLINE
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?

An hon. Member:

What about your party?

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MR. COLDWELL AS TO MEMBERS' OPINIONS AND PARTY DISCIPLINE
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

I said that, Mr. Speaker. I want to say that I know on occasion that has happened. I want to say further that on March 12, when I was speaking in this house, I said to the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Pearson) that there were gentlemen who were sitting behind him that evening who agreed with what I had said on a previous occasion.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MR. COLDWELL AS TO MEMBERS' OPINIONS AND PARTY DISCIPLINE
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?

An hon. Member:

Name them.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MR. COLDWELL AS TO MEMBERS' OPINIONS AND PARTY DISCIPLINE
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MR. COLDWELL AS TO MEMBERS' OPINIONS AND PARTY DISCIPLINE
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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

I say to hon. members of this house-and many of them know this- that there are hon. gentlemen sitting in this house who felt, because of party loyalty, or, as was said perhaps by another hon. gentleman, because he did not wish to divide the house, that what we said about economic aid to the United Nations was substantially the view a number of hon. members held in this house. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, while I feel that the hon. gentleman was quite right in raising this matter on a question of privilege, none the less I believe what I said to have been a fact, and I want to say so in the presence of my colleagues in the house, for whom on the whole I have the most profound respect.

Topic:   STATEMENT OF MR. COLDWELL AS TO MEMBERS' OPINIONS AND PARTY DISCIPLINE
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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

This matter was mentioned in the house the other day by the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Diefenbaker). At that time I stated that I thought there might be some exception taken to the remarks. May I remind hon. members of a citation in Beauchesne's third edition. It is paragraph 260, which reads as follows:

Bourinot gives the following example of unparliamentary phrases:

. . . that the house has a right to know whether a member meant what he said or knew what he meant.

Then again:

. . . that he-

That is, the member.

__(joes not believe a statement he himself has

made.

And here are words which are probably more pertinent:

Nor may he refer derisively to another member: . . . that he is a servile follower of the government.

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CCF

Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

I did not go that far.

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LIB

Elie Beauregard (Speaker of the Senate)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Certainly not. I merely

bring these citations to the attention of the house for the guidance of members in the future.

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CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS

ANNUAL REPORTS FOR YEAR ENDED

LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Speaker, I beg to table the following reports in English and in French:

Annual report of the Canadian National Railways for the year ended December 31, 1951.

Annual report of the Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited for the year ended December 31, 1951.

Annual report of the Canadian National Railways securities trust for the year ended December 31, 1951.

The auditors' report to parliament for the year ended December 31, 1951, in respect to the Canadian National Railways system and the Canadian National (West Indies) Steamships Limited.

Topic:   CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS
Subtopic:   ANNUAL REPORTS FOR YEAR ENDED
Sub-subtopic:   DECEMBER 31, 1951
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DECENNIAL CENSUS

POPULATION BY ELECTORAL DISTRICTS AND CENSUS SUBDIVISIONS

April 3, 1952