January 21, 1958

LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

You did.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

All that was said was that steps would be taken to fulfil the promises made. Those steps have been taken, those promises have been fulfilled, and we are going to go on with the same task, with the same quest, in the interests of the Canadian taxpayer and in the interests of the well-being of the Canadian economy.

Do you realize Mr. Speaker, that if the Liberals had been re-elected on June 10 there would not have been any financial statement last fall? The fact is that the house has more information today as a result of the complete financial statement made in the house on December 6 than it would have had if there had not been a change of government. The house would not have had any statement but for the change of government. And, Mr. Speaker, when they say that revenues are falling let me tell the Leader of the Opposition that revenues up to the sixth day of January in the present fiscal year, covering more than the first nine months, are $92 million ahead of what they were in the same period of the previous fiscal year.

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LIB
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

But, Mr. Speaker, any tool will serve the purpose of hon. gentlemen opposite as long as they succeed in destroying confidence, and in trying to destroy confidence in the government they will not hesitate and they are not hesitating to destroy, if necessary, confidence in Canada.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Smoke and fury.

Suggested Resignation of Government

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

Let me make it abundantly clear that as a government we will take every needed step within the means at our disposal to meet the problem of unemployment. Let me say that hon. gentlemen opposite need not think that democracy in this country and in this house is going to exist half and half. It is going to be complete democracy, not democracy without the ballot box. If they will have the courage of their convictions, the courage to challenge the government, then let me make it clear that we have no fear of those who are the supreme judges in Canada.

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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Official Opposition House Leader; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Chevrier:

Bring it on then.

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LIB
PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Finance and Receiver General)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming:

The hon. gentleman says "bring it on". Mr. Speaker, it is all very well for hon. members to say that. Some of them have been saying it but they are just saying it in undertones. They are afraid to hear themselves say it. Let them come out of their holes and shout it from the housetops. Let them stand up in their places and say it. Let them challenge us, Mr. Speaker, because we stand in our places in this house prepared to meet any challenge.

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CCF

Colin Cameron

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

Mr. Colin Cameron (Nanaimo):

Mr. Speaker, first of all I want to deal specifically with the subamendment we have presented to the house because I know there are many Liberal members who would like to vote for that subamendment. Many of them have told me so and in view of the statements of the hon. member for Laurier (Mr. Chevrier) a short while ago I want to dissect the subamendment and show to my Liberal friends that they can safely support it without doing violence to their Liberal convictions.

It has been suggested that this is a doctrinaire socialist subamendment but I find in it no mention of a publicly owned banking system; no mention of the public ownership of public utilities, which many Liberals who came to their convention last week from my district were in favour of; no suggestion that the vast monopolistic corporations that now dominate our society should be taken out of private hands; none of the things which in our view are necessary if we are going to have a permanent and stable economy.

What we did present here was a suggestion for immediate action to deal with the economic crisis with which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Pearson) and the Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) dealt at such inordinate length yesterday. We are merely suggesting certain measures that could be taken. The first of them is the question of considering the proposals of the United Kingdom. Are the Liberals afraid to vote in favour

of that? I would call to your attention, Mr. Speaker, that on January 7 the present Leader of the Opposition who was not then leader of the opposition had this to say as recorded at page 2970 of Hansard when he was pinned down very firmly by the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Green) as to what his attitude would be toward these trade proposals. He said this:

But, Mr. Speaker, I will be very glad indeed to tell my hon. friends what I would have done in the matter. I would have announced at once that this is a far-reaching, imaginative and constructive proposal on the part of the United Kingdom government and one which seems to indicate the seriousness of their intention of getting closer economically to Canada, something which my hon. friends have often talked about, and I would have followed that up by saying that this proposal should be immediately and sympathetically considered in discussions between the two governments.

So it would appear, Mr. Speaker, that there is nothing to prevent the Liberal party from supporting that part of our subamendment. It has been suggested to me that the part to which they take exception, the part they hesitate to support, is the final phrase in which we say:

-and also for consideration of immediate action to relieve unemployment and distress by adopting a fiscal policy which will enable the government to re-direct investment and embark on a comprehensive program of public development.

Are my hon. friends in the Liberal party opposed to a program of public development? If so, Mr. Speaker, how do they explain the monotonous regularity with which the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate (Mr. Pickersgill) reiterated again and again his plea that this government should embark on a program of public investment in Newfoundland similar to the one in which they are engaged in the other maritime provinces? If the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate is in favour of public investment in his adopted province, is he not in favour of a similar program in other provinces? We should know that, because the other provinces will be very interested in knowing. If he is in favour, and if his colleagues in the Liberal party are in favour of a public investment program all across Canada, how do they propose to accomplish that without decisive changes in fiscal policy?

It is not long ago-in fact I believe it was yesterday-that the Leader of the Opposition was denouncing the government and deploring-quite rightly-the fact the Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) had not introduced a budget this session. He went on to say this as recorded at page 3518 of Hansard for January 20, 1958:

We do not know very much about the national budgetary picture. We do know that expenditures have not been reduced as promised, but

vastly increased. We do know that the course of national production has been levelled off and is probably declining, that revenues are declining, that there will almost certainly be a deficit in the present fiscal year and that there is a prospect of a huge deficit in 1958 to 1959.

If the Leader of the Opposition seriously considers that the Minister of Finance is sitting like Mother Hubbard in front of a cupboard that is bare at the moment, and at the same time he and his party are in favour of a program of public investment across Canada, how do they propose it shall be instituted except by changes in fiscal policy? That is all we have asked for in our subamendment. It would have been easy for us to have introduced into this house an amendment couched in such terms that the Liberal party could not possibly have accepted it.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles

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

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

That was their trick.

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CCF

Colin Cameron

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

Mr. Cameron:

That was their trick. We could have followed an even cheaper trick, similar to theirs, by taking from their statements one or two phrases that have been uttered in this house or at that splendid convention or even incorporated a resolution adopted by the Liberals, and put the Liberal party on the hook. We decided that the situation that was debated at such extraordinary length yesterday by the leaders of these two parties is really of such a serious nature that no responsible group in this house should introduce an amendment unless it contained some positive, substantive proposal for dealing with the problem.

I would suggest that the Liberal party could quite easily support this amendment. I could promise them, in the future, they would have every opportunity they wished to vote against socialist amendments in this chamber. At the present time, all we are suggesting is that a certain course should be followed. It may, and I say only "may", deal effectively for the time being with this serious economic crisis. I put it to my Liberal friends that that would be a reasonable course for them to follow. I would suggest to them also that they had better be quick about following such a suggestion because even the Tory government embarked on a certain measure of re-direction of investment in this country when they announced the additional sums to be provided for housing, and when the other day the Minister of Public Works (Mr. Green) told us that if it becomes necessary the government will provide further funds. These facts, taken in conjunction with the gloomy statement of two weeks ago that the minister saw no prospect of funds for housing coming from traditional, orthodox sources, would indicate that this 96698-226

Suggested Resignation of Government government is determined to take at least one faltering step towards the re-direction of investment, with of course apprehensive glances over their shoulder at those shadowy but powerful figures that lurk behind both Liberal and Conservative parties. Nevertheless, the government is taking a few hesitant steps. Are the Liberals afraid to take similar steps?

I would suggest also, Mr. Speaker, that this amendment of ours offers the Liberal party a further opportunity perhaps to retrieve something from the disaster that overwhelmed them yesterday. Do not make any mistake about it, it was a disaster that overwhelmed them. Crowds came to this chamber yesterday expecting to see drama, perhaps even melodrama, and they were given farce.

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CCF

Alistair McLeod Stewart

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

Mr. Stewart (Winnipeg North):

They were, given low farce.

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CCF

Colin Cameron

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

Mr. Cameron:

Yes, low farce. At any rate, Mr. Speaker, I thought when the Leader of the Opposition was preparing to introduce his amendment, judging from his rather giggling, simpering manner of producing it, that he was going to play a joke on the House of Commons. I thought this was a merry jest. Then I found he was serious and he actually moved it. As I say, it was farce-no, it was not only farce but it was tragedy, deep tragedy, the extent of which will not be known for some time. It is a tragedy that a once great party comes to this house and has the effrontery to suggest, after having been thrown out neck and crop through the front door, that they should be allowed to creep in through the back door. Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I never thought to live to see the day when a responsible political party in Canada would suggest that we should adopt the political styles and customs of South American countries. This is Venezuelan politics, where governments change office without benefit of the opinion of the electorate. I should add also that even Adolf Hitler, when he first came to power, came via the ballot box. But not these gentlemen!

I have been told that the Leader of the Opposition can lay claim to some standing as an historian. I have been informed also he has at least one other colleague who can lay some claim to being historian. I am not a historian, but I do remember some of the past history of the Liberal party. I am afraid that the Leader of the Opposition has not studied the history of his own party or his memory could take him back as mine takes me back to 1926, when on June 25 the Liberal party was defeated in this chamber. On

3572 HOUSE OF

Suggested Resignation of Government June 28 the then prime minister Mr. Mackenzie King tendered his resignation to the governor general, after having been denied the right of dissolution.

On the 28th, the same day, Mr. Arthur Meighen of the Conservative party took over the reins in this chamber. He lasted for four days and he was then defeated. The house was dissolved and an election campaign ensued in which the then leader of the Liberal party fought the election campaign almost entirely on the basis of the unconstitutional action by which he had been deprived of the right of dissolution. Now today we have these gentlemen seriously- at least we must assume they are serious- coming before this chamber and asking us to re-enact that drama only to have the roles cast differently and the outcome to be entirely different.

It would be quite amusing if it were not tragic because, as I said before, it was a tragic thing we saw yesterday. In fact I thought when I witnessed it of that Shakespearean tag, "Let us sit on the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings"-even newly-crowned kings. Surely, Mr. Speaker, there was never such a short period elapse between a coronation and an abdication.

I am in a Shakespearean mood today and I came across another quotation which is to be found in Act III of "King John". It says:

Thou ever strong upon the stronger side!

Thou fortune's champion, that dost never fight

But when her humorous ladyship is hy

To teach thee safety!

Yes, it was a rather tragic scene we witnessed yesterday. We saw something else that was not very pretty to behold; we saw a magnificent hatchet job done on the Liberal opposition in this house and, as one who on occasion can use a fairly sharp machete myself, I give the Prime Minister (Mr. Diefen-baker) full marks for a magnificent hatchet job.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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CCF

Stanley Howard Knowles

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

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

You

had better hold your applause.

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CCF

Colin Cameron

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

Mr. Cameron:

And yet I wonder if that is the role which the Prime Minister of Canada should play. I wonder if he should have rushed with such relish into the abattoir. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I wondered when I heard the Prime Minister speaking whether he really supports the bill placed on the order paper by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton). When I saw him bring whole batteries of rhetoric, whole arsenals of guided missiles of vitriol and invective in order to shoot one forlorn sitting duck-a sitting duck, indeed,

already crippled with a self-inflicted wound- I wondered if the Prime Minister really believes in the humane slaughter of animals.

However, there is this to be said: those who employ cheap shoddy and dishonest arguments cannot complain if their antagonists are not too choice in their selection of weapons and not too scrupulous in their use of their methods. When I read the acceptance speech of the hon. Leader of the Opposition I found him saying "What is the situation now; after seven months of a Conservative government in office, unemployment rising to the highest level since recorded figures were taken". When I heard him speaking of the serious condition of our external trade and relating that condition to the first paragraph in which he mentioned the period of seven months of the Conservatives' in office, I felt such tactics were not worthy of the leader of a great party in this country. I say this because he knows, or if he does not he should know, that the train of events which has created our present discontents was already set in motion before he and his colleagues left office.

I know quite well that later on he said that it would, of course, be unfair to blame the government for all these things, but he created the impression-and I am unable to believe he did not intend to create that impression-that there is an automatic link between a Conservative government being in office and a high level of unemployment-fantastic suggestion that because one set of incompetents was thrown out of office to make room for another set of incompetents, then certain economic events have taken place.

While I say I deplored, coming from the Prime Minister of Canada, a savage and brutal attack such as he made yesterday, on the other hand I was unable to have too much sympathy with its victim because when he speaks of trade in this house and suggests that because the Prime Minister made some rather free-wheeling and perhaps indiscreet suggestions about diversion of trade to the United Kingdom that created our difficulties with the United States, he was again stating something which he knows, or ought to know, is not presenting the facts as they are. I commend him to the remarks of Sir Saville Garner, the British high commissioner, as reported on the radio this morning when Sir Saville was speaking of trade with the United Kingdom. He spoke of the ties of sentiment which link us with the United Kingdom but he said that trade is not a matter of sentiment, trade is hardheaded business.

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?

Mr. Marlin@Essex Easl

Hear, hear.

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CCF

Colin Cameron

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

Mr. Cameron:

I would suggest to the Leader of the Opposition that the businessmen of

the United States are just as hardheaded as those of the United Kingdom and that if they see it is to their advantage to buy our oil, our base metals or any other of our basic commodities, they will do so and they will do so no matter whether the Prime Minister himself were to preside at a burning in effigy of Mr. Dulles in front of the parliament buildings and, conversely, if they do not wish to buy from us they will not do so despite the most honeyed phrases in the best diplomatic tradition.

Yesterday, Mr. Speaker, was not a very happy day for this parliament. I think both the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister can be very thankful that their performances yesterday were not exposed to the pitiless gaze of the public as was the great Liberal convention last week.

What did we have yesterday? We had the Prime Minister blaming the Liberals and the Liberals blaming the government and I was reminded when I listened to it of a rather amusing incident which took place many years ago in the legislature of British Columbia. We had in our group at that time a very witty and intelligent member who one day after she had listened to the premier and the leader of the opposition in that parliament engage in the sort of nonsense that we got from these two gentlemen yesterday in this chamber, rose to speak and said, "You know that reminds me of two nasty little boys confronted with a broken window; one says, 'You done it', and the other one says, 'You done it', when they both know in the bottom of their nasty little hearts that they both done it."

The Prime Minister was so busy reminding us of something of which no informed person needed to be reminded, because we are all well aware that the economy was on the down grade before June 10-in fact we were warned so recently as February of last year by the governor of the Bank of Canada-the Prime Minister was so anxious to remind us of that fact, that he forgot one thing. He forgot to tell us what he intends to do about it. Perhaps that is not fair, Mr. Speaker, because I do believe we are going to have a vast program of picnic grounds which to me, incidentally, bears rather an ominous sound because I recall that in the hungry thirties that is what we did in British Columbia. We put the unemployed, or some of them, to work making picnic grounds.

But the Prime Minister did not get around to telling us what he proposes to do any more than the Liberal convention or the Leader of the Opposition got around to telling us. We heard quite a lot about the infanticide of political ideas at the convention and everybody cheered it as a remarkably clever 96698-226i

Suggested Resignation of Government phrase. The Liberal party is, of course, a modern, progressive party and it does not believe in infanticide. It believes in birth control, and it made quite sure that no new ideas came to birth at that convention which might have to be strangled later on. Any ideas that might have come out of the "grass" were scarcely encouraged; the "grass" to which the "brass" was going to get so close, and it did, as close as the lawnmower gets to the grass that it rolls flat. This rejuvenated Liberal party did not tell us what it was going to do, either.

But if bold policies are to come from the Liberal party I would suggest-and I almost hesitate to say this today-that they may have to come from no less a place than the head of the Leader of the Opposition, and I want to recall to your mind, Mr. Speaker, an interchange between that hon. gentleman and myself which took place on November 27th, 1957 and which is recorded at page 1594 of Hansard. I had been referring to, and very rashly attempting to paraphrase, a report of a speech which the hon. gentleman had made some time earlier, and I said:

I refer to the hon. member for Algoma East. It was a speech made shortly after the arrival of sputnik No. 1 on the horizon. During it he made this remark-and he will correct me if I have it incorrectly-or said something to this effect, that it now appears obvious that our social and economic organizations did not fit us to keep pace with the Russians. He qualified that statement later by saying that of course, even though it did not fit us to keep pace with the Russians, it was much to be preferred to that of the Russians and was much superior. It struck me, however, as a rather hopeful sign that a gentleman of his eminence should be prepared now in public to state that perhaps the time has come for a serious overhaul of our economic and social organization.

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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Will my hon. friend tell me when I am supposed to have made those strange

observations?

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January 21, 1958