Mr. Yves Leduc (Verdun):
Mr. Speaker, at the opening of each sitting of this house you follow the pious tradition of praying the Almighty, the only Ruler of princes, to behold and favour our most gracious sovereign, Queen Elizabeth, and to replenish her with the grace of the Holy Spirit.
You also beseech Him to direct and prosper all our country's consultations as well as for the safety, honour and welfare of our sovereign so that all things may be so ordered
The Address-Mr. Y. Leduc and settled by these endeavours, upon the best and surest foundations, that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety may be established among us for all generations.
On this memorable occasion of my life, may I be permitted to make mine the text of that elevation of our soul and of our heart so that in what I have to say I may find in Him a source of inspiration worthy not only of the members of the house but also of the work to be done in the matter of good and truth.
At the outset of our deliberations, over which you are presiding ex officio, it is fitting for more than one reason that you should deign to accept my respectful and loyal tribute. Since the days of our youth, I have followed your successful achievements, and it is particularly gratifying for me today to offer you my public congratulations, and to proclaim your tact, your competence, your dignity, your devotion to duty, as well as your sense of justice in the fulfilment of your noble functions.
At the end of the year 1953, my predecessor, Mr. Paul Emile Cote, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Gregg), an active member of this house for some 14 years, was appointed to the bench as a puisne judge of the superior court at Montreal. His relatives, his friends and the citizens of Verdun applauded such an official and unequivocal recognition of the dignity of his life, of his probity, of his devotion to duty, of his competence, in a word, of the loyal services he had rendered to the citizens of Verdun and the people of this country.
This appointment proved to be the causa causans of my entry into public life after having practised law actively during more than 20 years.
On March 22 last, my Verdun constituents bestowed upon me the honour and grave responsibility of representing them in this parliament. I hope I will remain worthy of their trust and that I will, in turn, be of service to the Canadian community through devotion to work and study of national and international problems, under the competent direction of my elders and with the kindly co-operation of every member of this house. To them I extend thanks in advance while assuring them of my own willingness to co-operate.
The right hon. the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent), no doubt desirous of honouring the constituency of Verdun and of expressing his indulgent confidence in one of his new colleagues-one who has had the pleasure and privilege of sitting here only for a few months-has asked me to move the address
The Address-Mr. Y. Leduc in reply to the speech from the throne. Tradition requiring that he should be thanked for this, it is with pleasure that I wish to discharge this pleasant duty. I should like to extend to him, at the beginning of this new year, the respectful and grateful good wishes of my constituents, for health, happiness and peace. And to these wishes I also desire to add my own. (Text):
Mr. Speaker, may I take this opportunity of offering to my dear French and English speaking colleagues, as well as to our assistants in this house my best wishes for a happy new year.
Upon resuming the sittings of this house we pause to deplore certain deaths and departures, and at the same time to take note of the arrival of new figures, some already known, but now covered with glory and greater responsibilities. The grim reaper has cut a swath in our ranks since the first session of this parliament. Even recently his fatal hand has torn two other public figures from the affections of their families, one the hon. member for Selkirk (Mr. Wood) and the other the Social Credit representative of the constituency of Battle River-Camrose (Mr. Fair). The former had sat in this house since 1949 and the latter since 1935, so they spent many years in the service of their fellow citizens and their country.
Time did not afford me the opportunity or the pleasure of knowing them intimately or even during the parliamentary debates, but I am aware of the warm memory which they have left in this house. To their respective families, to the leaders of their parties, to their friends and constituents, may I offer in the name of all those present our deepest and most heartfelt sympathy.
It is certainly a great satisfaction to those whose political careers are climaxed by appointments in other fields. However, those who remain find, with a mixture of joy and sadness, that their absence undoubtedly leaves a void. Three former cabinet members in this government are now exercising their talents in other fields. Undoubtedly, this is the result of official recognition of the numerous and eminent services they have rendered this nation. You have no doubt guessed by now that I am referring to the Hon. Brooke Claxton, who put aside the honours of his political activities to accept important responsibilities in the financial world, and to the Hon. D. C. Abbott, who has become a member of the highest court in the country, as well as to the Hon. Lionel Chevrier, president of the St. Lawrence seaway authority. To these three great servants of our country may I offer, in the name of all members of this
house, additional congratulations to those expressed personally, and also our sincere wishes for their success. As we say on such occasions, ad multos et faustissimos annos.
On behalf of the French-Canadian population especially, I wish to call to mind the moving memories left in this house by the Hon. Lionel Chevrier. What a fine and distinguished personality! I have been in a position to appreciate his excellent formation, his moral and intellectual education, his transcendent talent, his high ability in the fields of politics, eloquence and management. How easy it was for him to state clearly and with urbanity the problems of his department, using one language and then the other as required, the way a ship goes from one port of call to another, from a near shore to a distant one! It is not surprising that the Prime Minister and his colleagues have deemed it advisable to channel his competence and his activities toward the very river along which he has exerted and will exert for a long time his beneficial influence.
But in parliament, as elsewhere, life goes on! In order to fill certain vacancies, the house has acquired new members, for instance my hon. friend and namesake, the member for Gatineau (Mr. Leduc) who is not unknown here; the member for Trinity (Mr. Carrick), who has the honour of seconding the motion for an address in reply to the speech from the throne; the member for Stormont (Mr. Lavigne); the member for St. Lawrence-St. George (Mr. Richardson) and, last but not least, the member for St. Antoine-Westmount (Mr. Marler), about whom I shall have something very special to say in a moment.
My hon, friends in the opposition will certainly appreciate my leaving them the chance to be the first to congratulate the new occupants of the seats that had become vacant through the death of some members. May I be permitted to associate myself with their respective leaders in their compliments. The opposition will not be satisfied with that however. They will very likely-it is their right-criticize the various bills and the other government measures they will be asked to consider. They will do so with more or less vehemence or assurance and always for constructive purposes if, as I hope their thoughts, their statements and their attitudes spring from courtesy, straightforwardness, integrity, and from a courage which can reach the level of pride. That is the best way to do something useful, and, according to Sir Richard Southwell, to be of good faith.
I would be angry with myself, Mr. Speaker, for not inviting the members of this house to commend the appointment to the cabinet
of my hon. colleague and friend, the member for Chambly-Rouville (Mr. Pinard) who, last summer, became a member of Her Majesty's privy council and Secretary of State. At the Montreal University law school, I had the opportunity to appreciate his good humour, his intellectual inquisitiveness, his zeal for work, his marked taste for arts and literature, his thirst for justice, and numerous other qualities. His great culture was soon to find expression in an eloquence not unworthy of Clemenceau himself. His oratorical triumphs are well known to all. Already officially recognized by Washington, they have just been acknowledged by Canada. I pray my hon. friend to accept anew our congratulations and wishes for a successful career.
Finally, the house is proud to welcome the new Minister of Transport (Mr. Marler). His long career as a notary and his concurrent participation in the administration of public affairs, as a member of the Montreal municipal council as well as of the Quebec legislative assembly, of which he was long a member and during the past few years leader of the opposition, have endowed him with the necessary experience, which augurs well for the Canadian nation. An untiring worker, whose courtesy has never defaulted, whose competence has often been hailed even by political opponents, in spite of their complex of superiority, the hon. member for St. Antoine-Westmount deserves our sincere congratulations and our warmest wishes for success on the federal scene.
In fact, I have today a unique occasion of drawing a parallel which may help foster Canadian unity. The province of Quebec has now the privilege of having in the federal parliament two political figures- and I shall not name any other-of different racial origins, well versed in law and having a wide experience in public administration, one of French origin, the right hon. the Prime Minister, and the other of English origin, the hon. Minister of Transport. Both of them speak with equal fluency the language of "fair France" and of "proud Albion". They have revealed themselves magnificent logicians, combining French dash and British coolness, both traits drawn at the very source of that duality of language and of different civilizations implanted in our country, and which constitute for the Canadian citizen a priceless asset, and, for our country, in the eyes of other international powers, an example likely to increase the power, prestige and cultural as well as economic maturity of the most beautiful country and the one which enjoys the greatest measure of freedom, our Canada.
The Address-Mr. Y. Leduc
May the example set by these two outstanding figures in this native land of ours be followed in all spheres of national activity.
The constituency of Verdun, which I have the honour to represent in this house and which I am required, by tradition, to extol, has a population of over 80,000 people, of which 47 per cent are of French origin and 47 per cent of English origin or, at least, English-speaking, the remaining six per cent belonging to various other racial groups.
The name Verdun comes from a part of France called the Ariege, and dates back to 1671, at least. Monsieur de Maisonneuve, before the arrival of the regiment of Carignan, had originally distributed lands in this district to eight freeholders, called by him Argoulets, who were, as a matter of fact, harquebusiers, musketeers, fusiliers, carbineers used as light infantry in fighting the Iroquois. In 1841 the Cote des Argoulets was called Riviere Saint-Pierre at times, and Verdun at others. With the adoption of its incorporating statutes it gradually and definitely became Verdun.
From a geographical point of view Verdun is bounded on the north and west by Montreal, on the south by Ville Lasalle and on the east by the St. Lawrence river, whose beauty is enhanced at that point by St. Paul island.
This electoral district, because of its proximity to the metropolis of Canada, is, on the whole, residential, commercial and industrial. There are, in Verdun, more than 1,200 corporations or private companies. Moreover, it has two hospitals, one Catholic, the other Protestant; it is sprinkled with beautiful churches most of which are under the patronage of the Blessed Virgin, and with spacious, modern schools which are still insufficient to fill the educational needs of the school-age population.
What gives Verdun its charm, besides the moral and civic qualities of its citizens and the perfect understanding between the various language groups making up its population, are its parks, its playgrounds, its fine auditorium, its promenade of more than five miles along the river. I must not forget to mention its outdoor swimming pool, which is highly appreciated by the youth of Verdun and of the whole neighbourhood. This swimming pool is so modern that interprovincial or international swimming and diving competitions are held there annually and there is such a heavy attendance during the hot summer week ends that the courteous and civic-minded people of Verdun are satisfied with merely admiring a part of the population of Montreal.
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The Address-Mr. Y. Leduc
Verdun lacked only one important federal public service. It was a post office in line with the essential needs of its greatly increased population. Fortunately the Postmaster General (Mr. Cote) and the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Winters) have realized the urgency and the seriousness of the situation. Plans for extension of the post office are being prepared and carried out, and I would be remiss in my duty if I failed to thank them both for having lent a kind ear to my representations. May I voice the wish that this restoration of the Verdun post office may be worthy of the third French city in America, the fourteenth most important city in Canada, and that it may be extensive enough so that the people of Verdun may get a postal service beyond reproach.
Now, Mr. Speaker, if we glance at the modern history of our country, we can readily see that the right hon. the Prime Minister, the leader of the government, that efficient component of society whose duty it is to remove the obstacles which impede the progress of man towards his destiny and the pursuit of his ideal, has become famous for having held on to the course he had set for himself in the political creed which, in his first speech as a member of this house, he put in these words:
The right of men, rich and poor, to be treated as men; the right of men to make the laws by which they shall be governed; the right of men to work where they will at what they will; the right of womankind to the serenity and sanctity of the home; the right of children to play in safety under peaceful heavens; the right of old men and women to the tranquillity of their sunset; the right to speak the truth in our hearts; the right to worship, in our own way, the God in whom we believe.
Freedom and security; such is the motto of the good father in the managing of the affairs of the state, both internal and external.
The implementation of such a political program was to have considerable and beneficial effects within the nation and beyond the seas. Not only was the prime minister duly acclaimed during his world tour, but he saw with his own eyes the marked progress towards his objective: recognition by the other nations of the globe of our distinctive national identity, of the Canadian citizen's broadmindedness as well as of his wish to fraternize with his fellow men.
There is no reason, then, to be surprised that so many important personalities have visited Canada since the last parliamentary session. There have been, among others:
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, whose perfect bilingualism delighted and moved her audience; the Duke of Edinburgh; the Duchess of Kent and her daughter Princess Alexandra; His Majesty Haile Selassie, King of Ethiopia; the venerable Sir Winston Churchill, prime minister of the United Kingdom; the dynamic prime minister of the council of the French Republic, Pierre Mendes-France; Mr. Shigeru Yoshida, prime minister of Japan; Sir John Kotelawala, premier of Ceylon; the Right Honourable and Lady Swinton; the Austrian chancellor, Julius Raab, whose justified aim it is to obtain his country's sovereignty and independence; and lastly, that eminent statesman and distinguished scholar, Dr. Radhakrishnan, vicepresident of India. Mr. Speaker, a politician's speech, be he the nation's head or a subordinate, should not be only "the adornment of his time, like a lovely lady". His words should be inspired by the social task to be achieved in the service of his people. For the natural tendency of man, in fact one of his permanent needs and ennobling aspirations, is the pursuit if not of perfect happiness, at least of comparative and lasting happiness. This vital instinct cannot be fulfilled without freedom, security, peace of mind and the minimum well-being essential to the development of his personality. Only in a state, or society, based on sound morals and on a legislation that has stood the test of actual experience will the honest citizen open his mind to truth and strengthen his will to serve the common weal. I scarcely need add that a sovereign country like ours will only keep its chances of progress and development if it can permanently enjoy the freedom, stability and national peace that are essential to the people.
That freedom, that security, that moral and economic stability, that national peace, we already have and our government is bending every effort to strengthen them. One has merely to point out the achievements, with far-reaching social and humanitarian effects, brought about during and after the last session of this parliament and about which I would like to say a few words if, by doing so, Mr. Speaker, I do not try your patience and that of our colleagues.
"Laws", said Ozanam, "are the soul of the land." The soul and action of the social legislation enacted by this government are proof of its desire that the science of government should become "the science of peace" and of the harmonious state.
Everyone remembers the amendments made last March to the National Housing Act in order to allow the chartered banks and
the savings banks of the province of Quebec to grant mortgage loans for the construction of houses. That new legislation does away, moreover, with the joint loans, replacing them by a system of insured mortgages through which the approved lender provides the whole amount instead of 75 per cent. Also, the maximum loan has been raised and the period of amortization lengthened from 20 to 25 years.
In this same field, we must applaud the conclusion of federal-provincial agreements with seven of the ten provinces, the greatest number of such agreements being with the province of Ontario where, according to a statement made in December last by the hon. Minister of Public Works, a large scale program of slum clearance and reconstruction has helped to change the face of Toronto. May Montreal follow that example and take advantage of that beneficent co-operation in order to overcome its problem of insufficient housing and overpopulated dwellings and to promote the disappearance of that social evil, the slum.
Another measure which has been comforting to many people is the act which has been adopted to help disabled persons and which came into effect on New Year's day. The governments of all provinces have announced their intention to sign an agreement with the federal government in order to improve the lot of this group of unfortunate people. That is another step toward greater cooperation between the federal government and that of my province, and I congratulate both of them. In this connection, it is a very pleasant duty for me to thank the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Mr. Martin) and my excellent old friend, the member for Terrebonne (Mr. Bertrand), for the manner in which they upheld that noble and sympathetic cause.
The house has without doubt learned with marked rejoicing some time ago that during the present session the government intends to help more extensively our veterans through an amendment to the law respecting their allowances and to show a deeper understanding for one of the most unfortunate groups of our society, the blind, in lowering the age at which the allowance is granted and increasing the maximum provided by the act.
With no mental reservation and with no intention to link these last statements with the problem of federal-provincial relations in the matter of taxation, I should be remiss in my duty if I did not express the hope that light may be thrown on the way to a fair settlement that would bring satisfac-50433-2J
The Address-Mr. Y. Leduc tion to the taxpayers of the province of Quebec as well as to those of the other provinces.
The virtue of charity is not practised only within the borders of the nation. The Canadian government endeavours also to extend it to the international field. In fact, the Canadian contribution to the Colombo plan is intended mainly to help the economic and social improvement of the countries of south and southeast Asia.
To provide these countries with the means of improving and increasing their industrial and agricultural production, of extending their public and social services, of improving their administrative system by supplying them with materials, equipment, technicians, experts and administrators not only constitutes an undertaking of mutual assistance from which our country is the first to benefit in large measure but at the same time, if I am not mistaken, promotes the ideal of the free and democratic countries and increases their cohesive force.
Before concluding my remarks, I do feel compelled to mention the gigantic project undertaken recently, namely the deepening of the St. Lawrence seaway. There is no doubt that this 1,200-mile long seaway will greatly contribute to the economic development of our country. This happy undertaking, like other large public works which the government proposes to undertake, will stimulate industry, business and employment of labour. As a result of the building of canals, locks and even the development of power, our economic development will be much more rapid and unemployment will thereby come to an end. It will then be possible to ship, quickly and economically, to plants in the centre of the continent, millions of tons of ore mined in eastern Canada; it will be easier to move our wheat reserves to the various markets of the world, while decreasing the handling and shipping charges towards the east. The people of Montreal, Verdun and the surrounding communities will rejoice at the increase in business and activity in the harbour of our metropolis; it is said that this harbour will become an even more important link between ocean-going vessels and ships plying the great lakes.
The speech from the throne delivered by the governor general, which announces the introduction of certain bills, reflects the altruism of this government and its concern for its sister nations, the general economy of this country and the needs of all classes of our population. The amendments to the Unemployment Insurance Act will certainly help those who might not be able to find em-
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The Address-Mr. Y. Leduc ployment during the winter, and I hope that the benefits will be commensurate to the number of people in the same family, without abuse.
In this respect and, also, in respect to other measures mentioned in the speech from the throne, we may expect some lively debates, but I am confident that the members of this house will show no mercy to false principles and will devote all their efforts to the defence of the sound ones.
The philosophy of laws advises the legislator to recognize the immutable principles based on truth, justice and charity for the common good. These principles must be applied not only in the family, that basic element of our social structure, but also by the state, and even by a community of states. That is why it is wise and desirable for each and every one of us, in public or private life, to see to it that our individual or collective acts are perfected through our attitude and our conduct. The union of the members of our Canadian family will thus be made easier and more efficient. And the same holds true of the various peoples with whom these modern inventions keep us in daily and permanent contact.
Is this not, Mr. Speaker, the surest way to make this Canada of ours a mighty nation? Yes, mighty through the duality of its languages, its cultural heritage and its respect for its traditions. Ours will be a mighty nation since we shall have retained the courage of the pioneer who takes pride in sowing the grain and handling the tools. It will be a mighty nation since, in the light of the directions left for us by the makers of this confederation, we have bad the wisdom to institute a healthy and efficient parliamentary system. It will be mighty too through peacetime labour and the sacrifices of two wars, since we have ceased to be as lowly ivy grafted to the trunks of other and more powerful nations to become a noble oak in our own right, a mighty nation, then, since, in the words of my father: "Canada has grown at the call of its own summit and will climb high along the road to the great destinies envisioned by the fathers of Canadian confederation."
For these reasons, Mr. Speaker, seconded by the hon. member for Trinity (Mr. Carrick), I have the honour to move:
That the following address be presented to His Excellency the Governor General of Canada:
To His Excellency the Right Honourable Vincent Massey, C. H., Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada:
May it please Your Excellency:
We, Her Majesty's most dutiful and loyal subjects, the House of Commons of Canada, in parliament assembled, beg leave to offer our humble thanks to Your Excellency for the gracious speech which Your Excellency has addressed to both houses of parliament.
Subtopic: ADDRESS IN REPLY, MOVED BY MR. YVES LEDUC (VERDUN) AND SECONDED BY MR. DONALD D. CARRICK