June 25, 1952

PC

George Randolph Pearkes

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Pearkes:

Mr. Chairman, I am glad

that this discussion has taken place because I do not think it would have reflected any credit on this house had this resolution been passed without thorough consideration.

There is just one point that I wish to raise with the Prime Minister and possibly it may be considered as a personal point; I

Members of Parliament-Pensions do not know. I happen to be in receipt of a government pension at the present time. There may be other members who are in receipt of government pensions to which they have contributed, as I have contributed for a period of some thirty years. It is repugnant to me to ask for a second government supported pension.

I wonder whether the question of all members of parliament contributing to this scheme has taken cognizance of the fact that there may be members of parliament who are already in receipt of a government pension. As I say, I feel that it would be objectionable to me to be placed in the position of accepting two government pensions because I realize that there are many of my old comrades who are in a far less fortunate position and never had an opportunity to contribute to a government pension scheme.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RETIRING ALLOWANCES
Permalink
LIB

Louis Stephen St-Laurent (Prime Minister; President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. St. Laurent:

Mr. Chairman, I am not sure that the attention of the banking and commerce committee was called to the particular circumstances to which the hon. gentleman has just referred. I know that an effort was made to avoid duplication and that is to be found in the draft report in Votes and Proceedings under Nos. 15 and 16.

When the matter is before the committee consideration can be given to the terms of sections 15 and 16 of the bill to see whether they are sufficiently extensive. It is provided, as I understand from reading the report, that one who would be enjoying a judge's pension, for instance, would not get any allowance under this scheme. It may be that when it is before the committee of the whole for consideration it will be found that the terms should be modified because I think the intention was that there should be no duplication. If it gets to the stage of the committee of the whole I think that the committee should then give consideration to the language used to see whether it is broad enough to carry out that intention in all cases.

(Translation):

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RETIRING ALLOWANCES
Permalink
IND

Raoul Poulin

Independent

Mr. Poulin:

Mr. Chairman, I would like to say a few words-and I shall not detain the house very long-on the principle of the resolution now under consideration. As I do not belong to any of the political parties represented in the house, needless to say I have not been consulted. This enables me to express more freely my humble personal opinion.

I must say at the outset that I cannot approve entirely of the principle of this resolution. I should immediately add that I am not saying this with a view to gaining a political advantage; on the contrary, for the

Members of Parliament-Pensions proposal I would put forward might be even less popular, since it would provide for an increase in the indemnity to members of parliament.

Until now only senior members of the house have expressed their views on the matter; I hope that a junior member might also be permitted to express his humble opinion.

I simply believe that a higher and more adequate indemnity than is now paid members of the house would tend to improve the quality of the representation. I do not object to members who have served their country for several years receiving a reward; reward is probably not the right word. I should rather say that the public should be grateful to those who have spent here, as members of this house, say, 12, 15, 20 or even 25 years, for the very valuable services they have rendered to this nation.

I was listening a moment ago to the hon. member for Vancouver East (Mr. Maclnnis) who has submitted the most straightforward, but, at the same time, the most convincing arguments that I have heard in this house. Besides, the unanimous approval from the members proves it and reflects the general feeling of this house.

Mr. Chairman, this is what happens: A great many of the citizens of this country would be ready to offer their services, first as candidates, then as members, but they are prevented from doing so because of their responsibilities, as their financial situation would become a complete mess should they have to come here and represent their constituents during a period of four years.

I do not think that an uncertain pension, payable after 10, 12, 15 or 20 years, would be likely to improve their situation. On the contrary, if the members' indemnities were raised to $10,000 a year, they would be sure of receiving that amount and most of them could save say, $1,000, $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 annually and so accumulate a little fund which would help them to straighten out their affairs. Such would unfortunately not be the case so far as a pension is concerned and the young man who seeks a mandate would not be in a position to depend upon it when making up his mind. Granted he has been elected, he will be a member for four years afterwards. If he is defeated later on what will be the use of a pension he will never receive? What can he do?

Precisely because he has been away from his home for four years, a larger indemnity would allow this member, at least in certain cases, should he be, for instance, a professional man, or a small businessman, to pay somebody a salary, to a manager for example

who would keep his business going, who would see to it that his employees would give the best possible service. In this way the members' financial position would be protected until his return.

I therefore wish to say to all hon. members of this house-as a matter of fact I am just repeating what I was saying a moment ago- that I have absolutely no intention of making any political capital from this situation, since my suggestion will certainly be far less popular than the idea of a pension. All the same it seems to me that would provide a way to improve the calibre of the representation in the House of Commons. I am not a lawyer; of course, I would naturally like to be one but I have been denied this tremendous advantage. However, I wonder if a scheme could not be devised to allow the present senior members of the house, who are about to retire, to draw such a pension and to grant from now on a higher indemnity to the younger members who happen to be in the house at the present time and to all future members. Such a plan may not be feasible but if it were it would offer, in my humble opinion, a means of doing justice to the older members who have sacrificed themselves and it would tend to improve the quality of those who will seek in the future to represent their county in parliament.

(Text):

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RETIRING ALLOWANCES
Permalink
LIB

Thomas Gordon William Ashbourne

Liberal

Mr. Ashbourne:

Mr. Chairman, I would like to say that I am strongly in favour of the measure now before the house and I give it my hearty support. I consider it a forward move, and I realize that it had to fall to the lot of some parliament to introduce such legislation as we are now called upon to consider.

In so far as the members from Newfoundland are concerned, I should like to point out that they could not have service in this parliament before 1949. There are some members here who did have service in the Newfoundland parliament and I think that, so far as Newfoundland is concerned, I can make out a special case for them. I think it equitable and right that Newfoundland members who served in the Newfoundland parliament before confederation in 1949 should be entitled to have the sessions which they served in Newfoundland counted as a basis for possible qualification. In order that there might be more parity in the matter so far as Newfoundlanders are concerned, I trust that when the bill is introduced a paragraph will be placed therein to cover the matter to which I have referred.

I should like to say that my seatmate, the hon. member for Burin-Burgeo, when he entered the house, relinquished his right to a pension after seventeen years of service. In so far as Newfoundland is concerned in this

matter, I do not see how there could be exact equality since, as hon. members realize, a commission of government took office in Newfoundland on February 16, 1934. Any service rendered by members from Newfoundland would be prior to that date.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RETIRING ALLOWANCES
Permalink
PC

William Joseph Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (St. John's West):

Before the resolution carries, I do not think I should allow the remarks of the hon. member for Grand Falls-White Bay to pass without some comment. On the general question, I might say that when I first heard of it it seemed rather novel to me. I was brought up in the school that considered that members of parliament should be independent. Of course that idea has now been largely dissipated, and when we come here we are party members more than we are members of the House of Commons. Nevertheless, I have heard very eloquent speeches made on this subject today. During the past three years I do ndt think there has been any subject which has moved members to speak so fervently in the cause which they are representing. I have been much impressed by the arguments advanced today, and I can see that these arguments are such as would appeal to the great majority of members. Without any doubt, a very strong case has been made out in favour of pensions for members.

I think it was the hon. member for Beauce, as near as I could follow him, who pointed out that members' salaries have not been raised for a long time and that was a matter which certainly should have received consideration prior to the question of pensions. Nevertheless, if that were done it would not make provision for members of long standing who have given such valuable service to this house and to the country. It would only relate to the future, and would not provide any recognition of the valuable services which hon. members have performed. In regard to the special remarks which the hon. member who preceded me made in reference to Newfoundland, it is worth pointing out that Newfoundland was a separate country with a government of its own, and that it had members who are now representatives in this house. I should like to point out also that during the years 1934 to 1949 we had a commission of government, and there were members of that commission of government who may one day become members of this house. It seems to me reasonable and just that consideration should be given, as the hon. member has requested, to have the hon. members from Newfoundland enter into this scheme with recognition of the service which they have given in their own land.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RETIRING ALLOWANCES
Permalink
LIB

Charles Gavan Power

Liberal

Mr. Power:

If I may be permitted to mention a personal element for a moment in connection with this particular resolution, I may

Members of Parliament-Pensions say that I am probably the only member of the house who has a definite mandate on this question. It came about in this way. During the course of the last general election, the campaign in the constituency of Quebec South was based solely on the fact that the former member seeking re-election had grown old in the service of the state, had become decrepit, had lost influence in the House of Commons and, in fact, had been relegated to the doghouse where even his bark was not of very much interest. My political opponents carried on a campaign on the sole issue, as they put it in French, "met-tez Power a sa pension", or in English "Pension Power off". Every telegraph pole in my constituency was covered with this slogan "Pension Power off".

The result of the election would appear to be that my electors do not approve of pensions for members. By a majority of 13,000 they decided not to "pension Power off". But adhering as I do to the old constitutional principle that a member of parliament is not the delegate of his constituency but is sent here to represent the interests of the whole of Canada, and to use his own judgment and discretion in matters that are placed before the house, I therefore feel that I could, were I so inclined, or convinced, entirely discard the mandate received from the electorate of Quebec South.

In a more serious vein, I should say that in view of the fact, if this legislation passes, that I shall be immediately placed in a beneficial economic position, I feel it would be more appropriate and more proper if I did not cast a vote, should this matter be brought to a vote.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RETIRING ALLOWANCES
Permalink
LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Shall the resolution carry0

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RETIRING ALLOWANCES
Permalink
PC

Edmund Davie Fulton

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fulton:

On division.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RETIRING ALLOWANCES
Permalink
LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Carried on division.

Resolution reported, read the second time and concurred in.

Mr. Si. Laurent thereupon moved for leave to introduce Bill No. 392, to provide retiring allowances, on a contributory basis, to persons who have served as members of the House of Commons of Canada.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
Sub-subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RETIRING ALLOWANCES
Permalink

FINANCE

LIB

Douglas Charles Abbott (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Liberal

Hon. Douglas Abbott (Minister of Finance) moved

the second reading of Bill No. 390, respecting currency, the Royal Canadian Mint and, the exchange fund.

He said: Mr. Speaker, I have a statement

Redistribution

which I think will take me ten or fifteen minutes to make. Perhaps we might call it one o'clock.

At one o'clock the house took recess.

The house resumed at three o'clock.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FINANCE
Sub-subtopic:   ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES RESPECTING CURRENCY, THE MINT AND THE EXCHANGE FUND
Permalink

REDISTRIBUTION

LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Hon. W. E. Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to table the third report of the special committee on redistribution.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   REDISTRIBUTION
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF THIRD REPORT OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE
Permalink

INTRODUCTION OF NEW BILL

LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Hon. W. E. Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration):

May I have leave to introduce a bill with respect to the Representation Act. The house will be aware of the fact that we now have on the order paper Bill No. 8 which deals with representation. At the committee meeting this morning-and this is incorporated in the report I have just tabled -it was decided to recommend to the house that another bill be introduced to replace Bill No. 8. The second bill would be ready and might be read a first time today. It could be printed, and then come up for discussion perhaps tomorrow-if that meets the wishes of those who arrange these matters.

This bill will be similar to Bill No. 8, except for the necessary amendments as a result of the passing of the amendment to the British North America Act. The intention is that if the bill is given second reading it would then be referred to the committee on redistribution in order to have the schedule of the constituencies added to it in the normal way. I presume that if leave is given to introduce this bill it will also be necessary to ask for leave to withdraw Bill No. 8.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   INTRODUCTION OF NEW BILL
Sub-subtopic:   WITHDRAWAL OF BILL NO. 8
Permalink
LIB

Louis-René Beaudoin (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Has the hon. member leave to introduce the bill, and to withdraw Bill No. 8 on the order paper?

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   INTRODUCTION OF NEW BILL
Sub-subtopic:   WITHDRAWAL OF BILL NO. 8
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. G. Diefenbaker (Lake Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I think this should be allowed to stand for a while, because the leader of this party is absent at the moment and I would not wish to give consent. I would have to refuse consent until a decision were made. If it could be held over until a little later in the afternoon it would be satisfactory.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   INTRODUCTION OF NEW BILL
Sub-subtopic:   WITHDRAWAL OF BILL NO. 8
Permalink
CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles (Whip of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation)

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

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg Norih Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I believe it was understood by the various parties in the committee

this morning that this leave would be given, so long as it was understood (a) that no schedule would be included in the bill to be introduced at this time and (b) that its introduction today would be without prejudice to the rights of members to debate second reading of the bill. On these conditions we are quite prepared to give leave. I thought it would be well to make this statement now, and what I have said at this time would apply at a later time in the day when the Progressive Conservative party may have decided what to do.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   INTRODUCTION OF NEW BILL
Sub-subtopic:   WITHDRAWAL OF BILL NO. 8
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris (Grey-Bruce):

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre has stated the understanding we reached this morning. But, in view of what the hon. member for Lake Centre has said, perhaps we could let it stand until later today.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   INTRODUCTION OF NEW BILL
Sub-subtopic:   WITHDRAWAL OF BILL NO. 8
Permalink
LIB

Walter Edward Harris (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration)

Liberal

Mr. Harris (Grey-Bruce):

Earlier today I asked leave to introduce a bill but some hon. members did not find it possible to grant that leave and therefore I am giving notice that I shall ask leave tomorrow.

Topic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   INTRODUCTION OF NEW BILL
Sub-subtopic:   WITHDRAWAL OF BILL NO. 8
Permalink

June 25, 1952