June 26, 1956

PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

Mr. Speaker, I heard the point of order of the hon. member for Nicolet-Yamaska (Mr. Boisvert). He has attempted to imply that I have been reading my speech word by word. I would point to him, however, that I have extensive notes which I mean to use, and I do not believe this is against the rules of this house.

I understand, Mr. Speaker, that my present statements are ill calculated to please the hon. member, but he will have to submit to them just the same.

As I was saying, the opposition has a part to play. I think I shall keep doing my duty that way, and to fulfil the task entrusted to me. More than ever it is time to undertake Senate reform, unless we want respect for the honourable upper house to become a thing of the past.

Far be it from me to demand the abolition of the Senate. This parliamentary institution, wanted and created by the fathers of con-

federation in 1867, i.e., more than 89 years ago, has never undergone any change that would adapt it to needs and requirements of our time. In its present form, it has lost the real purpose for which it was created.

At the time the Senate was established, it was meant to undertake a more meticulous and dispassionate study of any legislation passed by the House of Commons. It was, moreover, supposed to protect minority rights. As a matter of fact, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew), whose words I am now quoting as they are printed on page 5331 of yesterday's English edition of Hansard, so rightly said:

Its members were to be selected from those who in one way or another had brought dignity or distinction to the public life of the country. They were to be chosen by the representatives of the sovereign for their acknowledged achievements or for their moral and intellectual excellence. They were to be placed in this position which was to keep them above the ordinary influences of party strife.

Let me emphasize that last sentence:

They were to be placed in this position which was to keep them above the ordinary influences of party strife-

in order to show that today appointments to the Senate are made as a reward to those who have dedicated themselves to the promotion and triumph of political ideas for which they fought most of their life.

Mr. Speaker, may I call it six o'clock?

At six o'clock the house took recess.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
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AFTER RECESS The house resumed at eight o'clock.


PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

Mr. Speaker, when the house took recess, I was recalling some statements made yesterday by the leader of the opposition showing the necessity for Senate reform and the important role which devolves upon those who are called to the upper house.

To continue my remarks, Mr. Speaker, I will say that the system has become dangerous, because today the Senate is considered as a single-party institution which reflects the feelings and ideas of those who are responsible for the appointment of its members. That abnormal situation, which jeopardizes freedom of speech, requires a long overdue reform, but the government, in its indifference, is opposed to the solution of that serious problem. The appointment of an independent committee to examine that

reform and bring about the required changes is therefore most urgently needed.

I have already stated in the house and elsewhere that the provinces should have the privilege of appointing a great proportion of the members of the Senate, so that they may truly play the part assigned to them, that is to represent public opinion as expressed by those who elect the governments of the various provinces. I therefore urge the setting up of a committee and the appointment of representatives of all the Canadian provinces. We would then be sure that such a committee would be free from partisanship and could submit to the government such changes as would be in the best interest of the Canadian people.

It is becoming more and more imperative that the Senate be composed of members of unquestioned independence and impartiality. Their role would then be that envisioned by the fathers of confederation. They would protect minorities and be devoted to the Canadian people rather than to a political party.

A few days ago, Mr. Speaker, in three Canadian provinces, situated in various parts of our country, the people clearly and definitely rejected the policy of the Liberal party represented in this house by the government in power. It might be argued that provincial elections have nothing to do with the federal government and that Quebec, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan were called upon to elect a government to administer these provinces for the next four years. One could very well use that argument if the federal Liberal party had stayed away from these purely provincial elections.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Bona Arsenault

Liberal

Mr. Arsenault:

Will the hon. member allow me a question?

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

Certainly.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Bona Arsenault

Liberal

Mr. Arsenault:

Has the hon. member for Quebec West always stayed away from provincial elections?

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

Mr. Speaker, I am very

glad to answer that question from my hon. friend from Bona venture (Mr. Arsenault) as, in fact, I took part in all the provincial electoral campaigns in my province for 25 years.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

In Quebec West?

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
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PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

In Quebec West and I can tell my hon. friend from Bonaventure that I took no part, either directly or indirectly, in any provincial campaign since I have been

26, 1956 5411

Request for Election and Senate Reform a member of this house, because I feel that my first duty is to the House of Commons and not to provincial electoral campaigns.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Bona Arsenault

Liberal

Mr. Arsenault:

Have the ministers and members of the Union Nationale party never taken part in federal elections?

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

As far as I can remember, Mr. Speaker, in a few isolated cases, some ministers-I know one of them and some members have, in their respective constituencies, campaigned side by side with the opposition candidate, especially when the rights of the province of Quebec were at stake; they felt it their duty to ask the population of their respective constituencies to vote for those who would protect the rights of the province of Quebec so that the interests of that province may be upheld.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Bona Arsenault

Liberal

Mr. Arsenault:

Does my hon. friend from Quebec West forget that the electors of Quebec West have returned a Liberal member, Mr. Jean-Paul Galipeault, general batonnier of the Quebec bar?

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

Mr. Speaker, that question is quite amusing. I thought that my hon. friend from Bonaventure (Mr. Arsenault) was perfectly acquainted with the Quebec city constituencies, but a little error has undoubtedly crept in thd question he has put to me.

The constituency of Quebec West, which I have the honour of . representing in this house, comprises, first of all, the provincial constituency of Saint Sauveur, where we have about 140 out of 150 polls. In this constituency of Saint Sauveur, which I represent entirely and which is known federally as the constituency of Quebec West, the Liberal candidate has lost his deposit, as my hon. friend would possibly be interested in learning.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Bona Arsenault

Liberal

Mr. Arsenaull:

Not in Quebec West.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

If my hon. friend refers to Quebec West constituency, in which I count about 10 polls out of a total of 150, I do not think he can boast so much about that Liberal victory, for the new member in the Quebec provincial legislature, Mr. Jean-Paul Galipeault, to whom my hon. friend referred, obtained a majority of only 158 votes in the whole of Quebec West constituency.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Bona Arsenault

Liberal

Mr. Arsenault:

Just the same he was elected.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
PC

J.-Wilfrid Dufresne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dufresne:

Such was not the case however and members of the federal Liberal party, ministers and back benchers, co-

5412 HOUSE OF COMMONS

Request for Election and Senate Reform operated closely with provincial organizations in order to dominate these provinces and to force upon them the dictates of Ottawa, in the interests of the Liberal party.

In the face of this centralizing assault for the benefit of a political party, the provinces concerned arose and convincingly indicated that they did not intend to accept orders from those who proclaim themselves to be almighty because they have been presiding over the destinies of Canada for the past 21 years.

The opposition is not alone is calling for a vote of non-confidence in this government, for such a vote has been registered in no uncertain terms in three Canadian provinces, the most important and the most populous being unquestionably the province of Quebec, part of whose population I have the honour to represent here.

What is the special meaning of the vote recorded in the province of Quebec on Wednesday, June 20 last?

It expressed the indignation of a whole people in the face of federal centralizing tactics. It showed that the people of Quebec want to look after their own affairs without having to follow the lines laid down by the federal Liberal party. It shows that they are bent on regaining the rights which are theirs and which were unjustly taken away from them by the central government, through the unpardonable complicity of those who used to get their orders from Ottawa.

Finally, it represents a repudiation of the laissez faire policy of the federal government in the face of the ever increasing activities of communists, who continually extend their tentacles and resort to all possible means to spread their nefarious ideology among the Canadian people.

The Canadian people have no longer confidence in this government, which permits the royal mail to be used for subversive and pernicious propaganda by those who want to enslave us and destroy the religious and democratic institutions to which we are so deeply attached.

(Text):

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Maurice Boisvert

Liberal

Mr. Boisvert:

On a point of order, the hon. member for Quebec West is reading his speech, which was previously prepared.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
CCF

Hazen Robert Argue

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

Mr. Argue:

A Liberal complaint.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink
LIB

Maurice Boisvert

Liberal

Mr. Boisvert:

He should not violate that rule of procedure. I am referring, Your Honour, to citation 314 in Beauchesne's second edition, page 103.

Topic:   SHIPPING
Subtopic:   SUPPLY SHIP "C. D. HOWE"-REPORT ON FIRE
Sub-subtopic:   REQUEST FOR ELECTION-SENATE REFORM
Permalink

June 26, 1956