May 27, 1958

PC

J.-H.-Théogène Ricard

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Ricard:

Why did you not contest the election?

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LIB

Joseph-Alphonse-Anaclet Habel (Chief Opposition Whip; Whip of the Liberal Party)

Liberal

Mr. Habel:

We were prevented by Mr. Duplessis.

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PC

Lucien Grenier

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Grenier:

I submit, Mr. Speaker, that such ill-founded assertions constitute the most humiliating insult which can be directed to the electors of the province of Quebec, and, at the same time, the most disastrous propaganda for our province.

I wish to put into the record of this house my most vigorous protest and to reassert that, on the contrary, the population of the province of Quebec has a deep respect for our parliamentary institutions and an unfailing sense of the high importance of its franchise. Indeed, that population, until this year, has given the party of my hon. friends the strongest representation in this house.

Considering the success achieved by the Conservative party in all the other provinces of Canada, I would have preferred however that my hon. friends explain to the house why, in their opinion, the province of Quebec should not have elected so many Conservatives. These members, Mr. Speaker, have received a mandate from a population which has recognized in the right hon. Prime Minister a statesman anxious to respect the rights guaranteed to the provinces by the British North America Act of 1867.

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?

An hon. Member:

That remains to be seen!

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PC

Lucien Grenier

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Grenier:

May I be allowed now to deal briefly with the particular problems involving my constituency. Since the opening day of the session I have heard members from almost every part of this country invite their colleagues to visit their respective constituencies to admire the landscape which, I am sure, is not without its charm. My own happens to be in the Gaspe peninsula which is visited by Canadian and American tourists whose numbers increase from year to year. The coastal area of that constituency is bounded by the bay of Chaleur, which was so named by Jacques Cartier himself who reached that large body of water in 1534 on a day on which, apparently, the heat was excessive. We may say of this area that nowhere else in this country, and possibly nowhere else in the world, may be found such a variety of landscape. The forest, mountain and sea have joined there to please the visitors' eyes.

I could not find more adequate words to describe the beauty of this area than those of Blanche Lamontagne-Beauregard:

"There is no country, no place in the world, with a purer breeze, with greater beauty."

However, this area could not have been so generously endowed by the Creator without its population feeling some inconvenience. The Gaspe peninsula, situated at the extreme east of Canada, presents practically the same characteristics as the Atlantic provinces. These provinces have been the object of detailed

The Address-Mr. Grenier studies by the Royal Commission on the Economic Prospects of Canada and 1 believe that the findings of the Commission's report on the Atlantic provinces could apply to my constituency and to the Gaspe peninsula.

Up to now, the geographical situation of the Gaspe peninsula prevented it to a certain extent from sharing in the development of the national economy and still prevents it from participating in the economic expansion contemplated by the Gordon Commission. Figures on the average personal income there as in the maritime provinces show a wide gap compared with the income of people in other parts of this country. The major part of our population is engaged in agriculture, but does fishing and wood cutting as a sideline, and may be classified with rural families where discrepancies in average income are the greatest.

Although the standard of living of the people of my riding cannot be compared to that of other Canadians elsewhere in Canada, it would have been still lower if the present government of our province had not cast a particular glance toward Gaspesia. It remains however, that Gaspesia and my constituency cannot exclusively depend on the provincial authorities to ensure their economic expansion. Over there, as in the maritime provinces, commercial investments per capita and per member of active population have been lower than average throughout Canada.

The report of the Royal commission on Canada's economic prospects, page 404, very exactly indicates what is the objective of the economic program capable of raising the standard of living of our population.

An objective of economic policy should be to integrate and improve the basic economic framework of the Atlantic region, including in particular the transportation facilities of the area with a view to facilitating and encouraging economic growth within the region.

What is needed we believe is a bold, comprehensive and co-ordinated approach to the underlying problems of the region in order to make the best possible use of the resources of the area and to improve transportation and other basic services.

There also, as in the Atlantic provinces, the predominance of agriculture, of hunting, fishing and lumbering on a scale hardly sufficient to ensure a living would lead one to believe that much of the land is inadequately farmed in our district. Now, I ask this government and more particularly the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Harkness), to consider more especially the possibility of improving the lot of the farmer in my riding.

The Address-Mr. Grenier

There is now in Bonaventure a federal experimental farm which renders valuable services, and I believe that it would be proper to establish additional ones. I also feel that it would be proper to make special grants for the building of cold storage plants for vegetables. Our farmers produce vegetables that they have to sell at ridiculous prices at the time of the harvest or immediately after, because they have no storage facilities, while during the rest of the year, the consumers of that district pay fancy prices for vegetables which come from other parts of the country.

I must also draw the attention of the Minister of Agriculture to the fact that the lands of my constituency need a very large quantity of fertilizer to give good results, and I think that special grants could be made towards the transport of fertilizers. I understand very well that it is not a problem of national importance but it remains that the farmers of my area have an unquestionable right to government assistance in the face of the unusual difficulties created by the particular conditions existing in the district where they live.

I wish here to congratulate the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fulton) on his initiative in instituting a commission to study the matter of combines in the paper industry and, together with my colleague from Bellechasse (Mr. Dorion), I contend that problems cannot be solved by punitive measures. It would be wise also, in my opinion, to classify the wood cut on the farm as an agricultural product, so that it may benefit from a support price.

We have also, in Bonaventure, a large number of fishermen, and it would be advisable if the products of the sea were to benefit from a support price. In this way we would do away with the uncertainty now prevailing with regard to prices at the beginning of each fishing season.

Finally, I would ask the present government to invest considerable sums of money in basic public services in order to encourage the development of the resources of the area.

Knowing the kind feelings which the Prime Minister and his government entertain towards those parts of our country which were too long neglected, I am assured that the people of Bonaventure can expect better days ahead.

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LIB

Louis-Joseph-Lucien Cardin

Liberal

Mr. Cardin:

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the hon. member for Bonaventure would allow a question?

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PC

Lucien Grenier

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Grenier:

Certainly.

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LIB

Louis-Joseph-Lucien Cardin

Liberal

Mr. Cardin:

I did not want to interrupt the hon. member while he was making his speech. I would like to know if the hon. member for Bonaventure denies the allegations and accusations made by Fathers O'Neil and Dion to the effect that election practices in the province of Quebec are completely immoral.

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PC

Lucien Grenier

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Grenier:

My hon. friend should know that I did not refer to the allegations or statements of Fathers O'Neil and Dion. I referred to statements made by hon. members of the opposition. At the same time, I would ask by what method-

(Text):

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LIB

John Richard Garland

Liberal

Mr. J. R. Garland (Nipissing):

May I

through you, sir, convey to Mr. Speaker my congratulations on his reappointment to that high office. To those of us who have had the privilege of knowing Mr. Speaker it seems almost unnecessary to say that he will carry out his duties with dignity, intelligence and understanding. Through the long history of parliament the office of Speaker has earned a special place, and I am sure this high office will be further enriched by his occupancy of it. May I also offer my congratulations to the mover (Mr. Lafreniere) and the seconder (Mr. Nielsen) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne.

Participation in this debate gives me the opportunity to express my appreciation of having the privilege of representing the district of Nipissing in this twenty-fourth parliament. This is my fourth consecutive term, thanks to the support I have received from all sections of our district, and I am deeply grateful for this support.

Perhaps I might be permitted a word concerning the change in the political atmosphere in Canada during the past year. It is a little more than a year ago that we left Ottawa after the dissolution of the twenty-second parliament. I recall the thinking of many hon. members on all sides of the house at that time. Many wondered what could be done to help the Conservative party. Many felt that it was headed for further reverses at the federal level.

Many feared that the Social Credit group would take over from the Conservatives as the official opposition. The Social Credit organization seemed unbeatable in Alberta and British Columbia. They felt they would sweep Saskatchewan. You will recall that the premiers of British Columbia and Alberta were booked into a great rally in Massey Hall in Toronto. This was to be the opening gun in a giant crusade to make substantial inroads in central Canada. Now, only a year later,

the Social Credit movement has been completely wiped out as a national party, and the Conservative party, which was in such a hopeless situation little more than a year ago, is today more firmly entrenched in office than at any time since confederation.

In so far as the Liberal party's fortunes during this same period are concerned, I think we can see here the best example in Canadian history of what can happen to a government doing a good job. In fact, they were doing such a good job that they became completely absorbed in administration and, with the possible exception of two or three ministers, they forgot their public relations. In other words, they forgot to have their pictures taken; they neglected to tell the people of the good job they were doing.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

John Richard Garland

Liberal

Mr. Garland:

Mr. Speaker, these interruptions cause me to say this. If the actions of the present government in the field of publicity are to be taken as any criterion, then it can be said that the Conservative government has no intention of repeating the political oversights in this regard made by the former Liberal administration.

I am not complaining, I am merely recognizing facts. While the Liberals were absorbed in the sound administration of Canadian affairs the Conservative party strategists embarked on a hard-selling campaign based on a series of extravagant promises coupled with a cleverly exploited emotional appeal to the voters. Promises, promises, promises; promises to suit every occasion; promises to suit every audience. These promises were delivered with all the fire and emotion of a man with a mission, a man with a date with destiny. The conduct of our national affairs took on a strange new look. Please do not misunderstand me, Mr. Speaker. I congratulate the new leader of the Conservative party, as he then was, and his campaign managers. This type of campaign, new and foreign as it was to our admittedly dull Canadian election campaigns, caught on. It did the trick, and I am sure the Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker) must look back on that first campaign with a great degree of personal satisfaction because it was a tremendous personal victory. He was able to reach the hearts of many Canadians with his eloquence and fervour. His was an emotional appeal that captured the imagination of many who met or saw him.

But time passed, and now the scene changes. The promised looked to the promisors. The responsibility of government changed hands as the victory shouts died away. Here, now, was that date with destiny fulfilled. Here, for

The Address-Mr. Garland the first time in over 20 years, was the opportunity to implement the policies that would bring to Canadians this brave, new way of life. Here was the opportunity to hand back to the Canadian people $500 million, and at the same time increase the benefits but not cut essential services. Here was the opportunity to return parliament to the people-I think that was the catch-phrase used most often. Canadians were truly aroused. Things were going to be different now.

One can readily understand the enthusiasm of the new Minister of Finance (Mr. Fleming) when he announced at his press conference early last summer-before he had had his knuckles rapped-that the new government would bring down a budget immediately which would provide the fulfilment of his party's election promises. I need hardly remind you, Mr. Speaker, that almost a year has passed but we have still not had a budget. Naturally, Canadians waited with keen anticipation the opening of the twenty-third parliament. What a shock was in store for those who had waited so patiently and so long. The throne speech really contained nothing but what I shall choose to call a Liberal dividend, a dividend made possible only as a result of good, sound administration by the previous Liberal government. The twenty-third parliament was dissolved as soon as it had fulfilled its usefulness to its new masters, and the previous election campaign was continued. This time it was continued with more confidence and more support and, of course, with more success.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

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LIB

John Richard Garland

Liberal

Mr. Garland:

I thought that last remark would receive support. This high pressure type of campaign in parliament and on the hustings, apart from the political success it brought to the Conservative party, has aroused a new interest in Canadian politics generally. I have said on other occasions that it has taken politics off the back pages of Canadian newspapers and put them on page one. I believe this new interest in political matters will prove to be a good thing for Canada in the future.

May I call it ten o'clock, Mr. Speaker?

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BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

May I ask the house leader what the business will be for tomorrow?

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PC

Howard Charles Green (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Green:

Tomorrow, we shall continue with this debate, and under the rules there will be a vote late in the afternoon.

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At ten o'clock the house adjourned, without question put, pursuant to standing order.



Wednesday, May 28, 1958


May 27, 1958