Hon. Donald M. Fleming (Minister of Finance):
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. Last evening when I was not in the house the hon. member for Assiniboia made certain statements which I think reflect on me. They are to be found on pages 2841 and 2844 of Hansard, and I read them:
A few weeks ago the Minister of Finance said in this house that one of the reasons why there is so much trouble today with regard to unemployment is because of the wartime babies. He said there were too many wartime babies and they are now old enough to be on the labour market. He said, "We cannot deal with the love life of Canadians and the new citizens we have who are coming of working age. There were too many wartime babies." We asked why so many people are on the unemployment rolls. "Too many pregnant women drawing unemployment insurance who should not be receiving it." Some answer.
That is on page 2841. On page 2844 the hon. member said further:
The Minister of Finance said that one of the reasons the government was having a difficult time achieving a full employment economy was the high birth rate during the war. If the hon. gentleman will read the remarks carefully he will find this in the speech.
And further, speaking of myself the hon. member said:
He said that this was the reason unemployment was so high and he could not do anything about it.
Except there were too many people coming of employment age and the government could not do anything about employment.
The remarks attributed to me, Mr. Speaker, have never been uttered by me. What I did say on this subject is a matter of record in the house and could have been quoted precisely from the record by any hon. member wishing to refer to my remarks in their proper context. They are to be found on page 1001 of Hansard and read as follows:
.. . the growth of our labour force is now more directly attributable to the coming of age, from an employment point of view at least, of the large number of babies who were born in Canada during and immediately after the war.
You will observe, Mr. Speaker, that the remarks attributed to me by the hon. member
for Assiniboia bear no resemblance whatever to what I actually did say, and the best that can be said for his remarks is that they are an irresponsible distortion of what I said.
Subtopic: MR. FLEMING (EGLINTON) REFERENCE TO RE- MARKS IN DEBATE ON MARCH 9