May 24, 1961

?

An hon. Member:

Why?

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
CCF

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

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

Mr. Herridge:

Because I will be attending another committee at one o'clock. This sort of thing happens repeatedly. When we consider external affairs and their importance and we find that this committee is being called during the lunch hour so hon. members can discuss international affairs in between snacks. I think it is going a bit too far.

I wish to join with the hon. member for Essex East in an effort to get some better organization of the time of the committees and earlier starting of the committees in the session. If the committees commenced sitting early in the session we would not have this situation, with all this undue haste and in many cases lack of dignity in the work of the committees.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, may I say that there is no other committee meeting at one o'clock today except the external affairs committee.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
LIB

Paul Joseph James Martin

Liberal

Mr. Martin (Essex East):

Yes; the external affairs committee.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prime Minister):

As I have said on many occasions, Mr. Speaker, I realize the difficulty of a small opposition in securing the necessary representatives on the various committees set up. That has been now-

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

That is not the reason-

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

If the hon. gentleman who does most of his talking from a seated position will remain silent, I will continue with the argument.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Keep the Minister of Public Works quiet.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
LIB

George James McIlraith

Liberal

Mr. Mcllrailh:

I will give him exactly the courtesy that he gives me.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman has an inveterate desire to babble away, and I do not want to interfere with that. As I was saying a moment ago, all through the years this has been a cause of complaint. We felt when we were in opposition that it was difficult for hon. members to sit in the various committees which were sitting during those days. This year we set up committees earlier than has been the case in many years in the past.

I want to point out that hon. gentlemen have been asking for various matters to be submitted to committees; they have not had enough to do. I seem to recall an argument last week on that subject, when the opposition said, "We want a report submitted to a committee". They were not so fearful then that they would not have the necessary members available.

I simply rise for the purpose of saying that what has resulted is not from a lack of organization on the part of the government but rather from a failure on the part of the opposition to bifurcate themselves or trifurcate themselves so they can attend the various committees. I would suggest that the committees might arrange to sit at different times so as to enable hon. members to attend the committee meetings.

I have been listening the last few days, and it is interesting to see that as soon as the hon. member for Essex East receives the responsibility of "acting leader" of the opposition he forever rails away at the lack of organization. I say "Physician, heal thyself".

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Hon. J. W. Pickersgill (Bonavisia-Twillin-gaie):

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has suggested that the difficulty is with the opposition. I suggest, sir, that there are enough members, supporters of the government, on this committee in proportion to their numbers in this house. Why it is necessary to reduce the quorum at this time; why it is not possible for those government members to bifurcate themselves-to use the Prime Minister's words-so they can at least maintain the quorum on these committees is very hard to understand.

It is true, of course, that it has been the policy of the government all through this session to maintain what I described the other day as a friendly filibuster on their own legislation by their members in this house. But even at that, only one of them at a time can speak in the house from his place, though some, like the Minister of Public Works speak regularly from their seats. However, there would be no need to reduce the quorum of this committee because of the failure of opposition members to attend if there was a reasonable attendance on the part of hon. members on the government side of the house.

It does seem to me that this motion at this time is really quite unnecessary. It is unnecessary for another reason; it is unnecessary because the work of the veterans affairs committee could have been completed long before this if the war veterans legislation had been brought forward at the same time the pension legislation was brought forward, and proceeded with properly as it should have been. We understand that this legislation is not even ready yet, and the resolution is being filibustered on the other side because the government cannot yet make up its mind what to put in the bill.

It is true that there are so many committees meeting that it is very difficult for many of them to get a quorum. Indeed the other day, in the case referred to by my hon. friend from Essex East, when there was objection taken to the simultaneous meeting of the committee on railways and discussion of the legislation on the Canadian National Railways in the house, I think it is within the knowledge of all hon. members that a tie took place in that committee on a vote because there were so few supporters of the government at the committee meeting. This is a fact; and when the Prime Minister gets up and talks about a failure of the opposition in connection with this matter, facts rather than fiction, if I may use a word dear to the leader of the government, might be applied to the situation.

This situation has risen mainly for another reason, mainly because the hours of sitting of this house were extended in an altogether 90205-6-334J

Veterans Affairs Committee unprecedented way long before the government's most important legislation had been brought down at all, long before most of it was ready, and long before there was a budget. I cannot remember in the past when the hours of sitting were ever lengthened until all the legislation had been announced by the government-except, of course, for something that might be announced in an emergency-and practically all of it was on the order paper. I call attention to the fact that the most important legislation-that dealing with federal-provincial tax-sharing, unemployment insurance and the budget, to name only three items-has not yet been introduced, and one could lengthen the list to include the 20 items which the Prime Minister announced on April 24, most of which have not been brought down. This whole situation has been created by that precipitate effort of the government at that time, and because they were afraid to bring in their legislation before next Monday.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
PC

John Cameron Pallett (Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister; Chief Government Whip; Whip of the Progressive Conservative Party)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Palleli:

Before the hon. member completes his diatribe I wonder if he would be in favour of the attendance records of the committees being tabled in the house.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I would have no objection whatsoever. I should not mind. If, however, the hon. gentleman selects my attendance at the Indians affairs committee, which has almost always sat at the same time as the committee on broadcasting, I must point out that I am not able to bifurcate myself in that respect.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Mr. Hellyer:

I shall be very brief, Mr. Speaker-

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

May I remind the hon. member that the question before us is the reduction or waiving of the quorum required at a specific committee. I trust that hon. members will confine themselves for the rest of the discussion to this matter.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Hon. Paul Hellyer (Trinity):

Yes, Mr. Speaker. I merely rose to say that from what the Prime Minister told the house a few minutes ago it is clear that he feels the opposition needs reinforcement. I hope the electors in four districts next Monday will see fit to accommodate him.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
PC

John Ferguson Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. J. F. Browne (Vancouver-Kingsway):

The hon. member for Essex East and the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate have mentioned the sittings of the committee on railways, canals and telegraph lines, and I have a protest to make in this regard which I should like to bring to the attention of the house. We were sitting in that committee hearing witnesses from the truckers' association who were here to present their views,

Veterans Affairs Committee and the hon. member for Laurier informed us that he could not remain because he had to be in the house. However, there were five other members of the Liberal party sitting on that committee, and they told us that the hon. member for Laurier was the only one in that party who could speak on transportation.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
PC

Daniel Roland Michener (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

I appreciate the hon. member's point, but I do not see the relevance of what happened in that committee to the subject now under discussion. There has been some latitude allowed, but the hon. member for Vancouver-Kingsway is talking about a different matter.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink
PC

John Ferguson Browne

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Browne (Vancouver-Kingsway):

With

all deference, Mr. Speaker, the other two hon. members referred to what happened in that committee and I think it is only proper there should be an understanding of what did occur.

Topic:   VETERANS AFFAIRS
Subtopic:   FOURTH AND FIFTH REPORTS OF STANDING COMMITTEE-CONCURRENCE IN FOURTH REPORT
Permalink

May 24, 1961