September 27, 1962

HOUSE OF COMMONS DEBATES

OFFICIAL REPORT


27507-3-li


ROGER DUHAMEL, F.R.S.C.


queen's printer and controller of stationery OTTAWA, 1962



Ho use of Commons; Befiates



Speaker: THe Honourable Marcel Lambert


FIRST SESSION-TWENTY FIFTH PARLIAMENT


The twenty fourth parliament having been dissolved by proclamation on Thursday, April 19, and writs having been issued and returned, a new parliament was summoned to meet for the dispatch of business on Thursday, September 27, 1962, and did accordingly meet on that day. Thursday, September 27, 1962 This being the day on which parliament is convoked by proclamation of His Excellency the Governor General for the dispatch of business, and the members of the house being assembled: Leon J. Raymond, Esquire, O.B.E., the Clerk of the House, read to the house a letter from the secretary to the Governor General informing him that the Honourable Patrick Kerwin, Chief Justice of Canada, in his capacity as Deputy Governor General, would proceed to the Senate chamber to open the first session of the twenty fifth parliament of Canada on Thursday, the twenty seventh day of September, at eleven o'clock. A message was delivered by Major C. R. Lamoureux, Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, as follows: Members of the House of Commons: The Honourable the Deputy Governor General desires the immediate attendance of honourable members in the chamber of the honourable the Senate. Accordingly, the house went up to the Senate chamber, when the Speaker of the Senate said: Honourable Members of the Senate, and Members of the House of Commons: I have it in command to let you know that His Excellency the Governor General does not see fit to declare the causes of his summoning the present parliament of Canada until the Speaker of the House of Commons shall have been chosen according to law, but this afternoon, at the hour of three o'clock, His Excellency will declare the causes of calling this parliament. And the house being returned to the Commons chamber:


ELECTION OF SPEAKER

MR. MARCEL LAMBERT, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF EDMONTON WEST

PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

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

Mr. Raymond, I know all hon.

members are awaiting the speech from the throne. However, until a Speaker is elected there is no one to speak for or communicate with Her Majesty's representatives. We have been advised by the Honourable the deputy Governor General that we cannot be informed of the reasons for convening parliament until a Speaker has been chosen. Indeed, the House of Commons does not come into existence until a Speaker has been chosen.

The office of Speaker is a position of high dignity, one of the great inheritances of British tradition and institutions. In the early days the Speaker had to face the King. That is one of the reasons that today we continue more or less to force him to take his position as Speaker when he is chosen. His office requires courage, tact and great wisdom. Indeed, the records of history are replete with the names of great commoners who took their stand on behalf of freedom and its implementation by the House of Commons. The Speaker continues to be the custodian of the privileges and the honour of parliament. His ancient title, of course, is based on the fact that he was chosen by his fellow members to speak for them either to the sovereign or generally. His fidelity to parliament and the things it stands for must be unquestioned, and in the dispatch of his duties his impartiality unquestionable. He must be one who understands human frailties, wise and above all he must be patient, and have high intellectual qualities.

Last evening I picked up two volumes by Lord Ullswater, for many years Speaker of the British House of Commons. I think in his concluding paragraph he has summarized the position of the Speaker. I will quote those words:

Upon the maintenance of order and decorum in any assembly the free expression of opinions depends. In a democratic assembly, where every

Election of Speaker

kind of view is represented, it is essential that the most extreme views, whether revolutionary or reactionary, heretical or orthodox, novel or commonplace, popular or unpopular, should be given an opportunity of making themselves heard. To allow clamour and disturbance to drown free expression of sentiment is to nullify the whole purpose of a deliberative assembly. Whatever the sentiments of the majority may be, the right of a minority, however small, to state its case and put forward its arguments, is undeniable. The House of Commons is not a public meeting, a conference or a convention, where opposition can be stifled by disturbance or silenced by shouting. History records many instances of the failure of representative assemblies to listen to the voice of reason and to be overborne by concerted, prearranged or even spontaneous, noise and violence. This is a danger from which our great assembly-

He is referring to Westminster.

-is not wholly free and it must be carefully guarded against as time goes on. Upon the Speaker of the House of Commons, this most important duty is specifically placed and in his hands, to that extent, rests the future destiny and usefulness of the oldest and greatest deliberative assembly of the world.

I apply those words to this house.

Now, sir, in the ordinary course of events the British system differs from ours in that there it is the custom that the same Speaker continues as long as he retains his seat in the house. I have not conducted any extensive research in this regard but as far back as 1922 the prime minister of that day, Right Hon. Mackenzie King, spoke of the possibility of there being a permanent Speaker. I think that has been a subject that has been discussed in successive parliaments. There has been some widespread support given to it. Had the last speaker, Hon. Roland Michener, been re-elected then the house might have felt the opportunity should have been given it to express itself in regard to this subject. However, in the light of the electoral results any suggestion of that kind becomes theoretical.

So far as the Speaker is concerned, his functions are to preside over this house, to be zealous in the maintenance of the privileges of parliament, and to ensure that the rights of minorities and individual members are preserved. The discharge of these functions requires fairness and tact, firmness and impartiality, and it will not be lost sight of that we do have a number of minorities in this parliament. The Speaker must maintain order amid the clashing sabres of debate. The Speaker must preserve inviolate the traditions of parliamentary government in principle as well as in spirit, for this is the traditional heritage of freedom.

A recital such as this has been made at the opening of all parliaments, and would almost lead one to believe that a paragon of all the perfections would have to be chosen. However, we try to secure unanimity of agreement in the choice of a Speaker, in the choice

of an hon. member who represents in his person these purposes and objectives.

It is traditional in our system to choose a Speaker of one parliament who is of English origin, alternating with a Speaker of French origin. Many descendants of the French race have gone to various parts of Canada where they made valuable contributions in local spheres. The man whose name I present for the consideration of the house is among these and also goes back in his roots to the province of Quebec. His father went west many years ago and, should the house accept this nomination, it will be the first time such recognition will have been given to one of French origin representing a constituency outside Quebec.

To meet these qualifications I propose that the House of Commons give consideration to accepting Marcel Joseph Aime Lambert as Speaker. He possesses qualifications similar to those held by the Speaker of the last parliament. He was bom in the province of Alberta. He is a Rhodes scholar and a barrister at law. He was first elected to parliament in 1957 and has since taken a prominent part in the deliberations of this house. I should also mention that he is a distinguished veteran of the second world war, who participated in the glory and grandeur of Dieppe where he was taken prisoner, and if he is chosen he will be the first of the veterans of the second world war to have attained so exalted a position.

Therefore, Mr. Raymond, I ask the house to accept the nomination of Mr. Marcel Lambert as an able and proper person to be Speaker of this twenty fifth parliament.

I move, seconded by the Minister of Transport (Mr. Balcer):

That Marcel Joseph Aime Lambert, Esquire, member for the electoral district of Edmonton West, do take the chair of this house as Speaker.

(Translation):

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. MARCEL LAMBERT, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF EDMONTON WEST
Permalink
PC

Léon Balcer (Minister of Transport)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Leon Balcer (Minister of Transport):

Mr. Raymond, it gives me great pleasure to second the motion of the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Diefenbaker). In my opinion, Mr. Lambert is totally qualified to fulfil the important duties of Speaker of this house, in which he will be called upon to serve his country once again, if this house concurs in the Prime Minister's motion.

I am convinced, as every right-minded person in this place is, that, in this function, he will be a credit to the people of Edmonton West and to the French speaking Canadians, especially those living outside the province of Quebec.

In nominating Mr. Lambert, the Prime Minister is asking the house to maintain a tradition of the utmost importance to the full development of national unity in this

country, that of having in turn an English speaking and a French speaking member as Speaker of this house.

The Prime Minister's idea of proposing the appointment of a French speaking member from a province other than Quebec is indeed an excellent one, to which I, as a French speaking member from Quebec, am happy to subscribe. By electing Mr. Lambert, the house will give conclusive evidence that in Canada, whatever his language or religion, a Canadian is at home in all ten provinces and can aim at the highest offices.

Mr. Lambert is a capable parliamentarian and a well-known lawyer. His high sense of duty and the respect he bears to the constitutional function of this House of Commons in the life of the nation have brought unto him a reputation of high honour.

For all those reasons, it gives me pleasure to second the Prime Minister's motion.

(Text):

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. MARCEL LAMBERT, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF EDMONTON WEST
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Hon. L. B. Pearson (Leader of ihe Opposition):

Mr. Raymond, we on this side support with pleasure the nomination that has been made to the house by the Prime Minister, seconded by the Minister of Transport, of Mr. Lambert, the member for Edmonton West, as the Speaker of our house.

We do so for more than one reason. One is that when it is possible-and it has nearly always been possible throughout our history -the nomination of the Speaker should be supported by all hon. members of the house. The Prime Minister has mentioned the desirability, in certain circumstances in the future, of arranging for permanency in the office of Speaker. I agree that if we could make arrangements in future which would provide for continuity in the holding of this very important office, having regard to our tradition that it should be held alternately by French speaking and English speaking Canadians, it might be a desirable thing to do.

We on this side support this nomination of one who has served his country with gallantry in war and distinction in peace, who has now had some years of experience in the house and who has the great advantage of being perfectly familiar with both of Canada's official languages.

The office of Speaker, as the Prime Minister has pointed out, is the foundation of our parliamentary institutions. He is the protector of our rights and our traditions; a protection which as we know, and as has already been mentioned this morning, was in the early days against a king, but in modern days it is protection against any effort, if effort is ever made, to violate our rules, our privileges and our rights; protection especially of the

Election of Speaker

rights of the minority in this house-and in the circumstances of today, that includes all parties.

The office requires, to the highest possible degree, as the Prime Minister has emphasized, qualities of wisdom and patience, of firmness and tact, with an unswerving regard for complete fairness and a total impartiality in presiding over the deliberations of this house. It is the duty of every hon. member of the house to support the Speaker as he displays these qualities in the discharge of his duties.

It gives me, as one member of this house, the greatest possible pleasure to join the Prime Minister in the tribute he has paid to the speaker of the last parliament who has shown these qualities to an exceptional degree.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. MARCEL LAMBERT, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF EDMONTON WEST
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. MARCEL LAMBERT, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF EDMONTON WEST
Permalink
LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

He displayed these qualities while he was speaker in a way which gained our support, our respect and indeed our affection. He has deserved well of his party, of this house, and indeed of his country. We hope and believe that the hon. member of the house who has been nominated to succeed him will display those qualities in the same way and receive, as he will deserve, the support of all hon. members of the house.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. MARCEL LAMBERT, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF EDMONTON WEST
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SC

Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Roberi Thompson (Red Deer):

Mr. Raymond, on behalf of the Social Credit members and myself, it is my pleasure to associate ourselves with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the support of Mr. Marcel Lambert as Speaker of this twenty fifth parliament. While Mr. Lambert is not a personal acquaintance of long standing, I feel confident that he will uphold the traditions of this most important office in a manner befitting the dignity and responsibility which the position offers to him.

Mr. Lambert follows in the footsteps of a man who, through the very high standard with which he carried out his duties in the last parliament, gained the respect and admiration of every hon. member. I say this with a certain amount of pride because the former speaker is a native of my own city and we are proud of the record of achievement in public service that has been established by him and by his father before him.

I am confident that as an Albertan Mr. Lambert will prove his ability and good judgment and fairness. Mr. Lambert's military record, his academic achievements and his parliamentary experience have given him a background which fits him well into these new responsibilities.

While election campaigns often bring expressions and statements which may not be compatible with the position of neutrality

Election of Speaker

which a Speaker must hold if he is to maintain the confidence of all hon. members of this house, I am sure that each one of us understands that it is our responsibility as members of this parliament and as Canadians to put aside all such things in an effort to face up to the job which is before us.

I was interested in the remarks made by the Prime Minister and also by the Leader of the Opposition in regard to a permanent speaker. We trust that during this parliament we might give attention to the necessary action which would provide for this house a permanent speaker, and thus not only add to the respect of the office but also assist the holder of that office in the performance of his duties. Remembering that rules are made to be obeyed, we will to a man give Mr. Lambert our full support.

I am sure no one knows better than Mr. Lambert himself that the fulfilling of this office will not be easy in this house of minorities, but I assure him of the co-operation and support of all the members of our group.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. MARCEL LAMBERT, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF EDMONTON WEST
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NDP

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

New Democratic Party

Mr. H. W. Herridge (Kootenay West):

Mr. Raymond, according to long established custom, we join with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Transport and the leader of the official opposition in supporting the nomination of a Speaker for this parliament.

On this solemn but, I am sure it is correct to say, happy occasion I feel that the environs of this house are surrounded by the draperies of history and with recollections of what that history means to us all. This ritual without rule, this ceremony without catalogue, represents our witness to a thousand years of history that forged our parliamentary and democratic institutions. Throughout the centuries these have been threatened on numerous occasions, the last time by those exponents of despotic rule, Hitler and Mussolini. Fortunately for us and future generations, millions gave their lives in defence of these institutions. We express our gratitude and honour their memory in our allegiance to parliamentary institutions, practice and procedure. Election to the office of Speaker is the greatest honour and privilege within the gift of this house; a unique office, with a distinctive tradition.

At this point, Mr. Raymond, I wish to associate the occupants of this most important corner of the house with the tribute paid by the Prime Minister and the leader of the official opposition to the former speaker. I am sure he had the respect and affection of all of us, and we will long remember our association with him in this house. We trust that in the future we will see some improvement in the procedure with respect to the election of the Speaker of this house. I have often

thought, Mr. Raymond, that it was most inhuman to expect a person to practice impartiality in this house and then thrust him on the hustings to fight an election on a partisan basis. I hope we will become more mature and accept the British practice in a form acceptable to our Canadian procedures in this respect.

Election to the office of Speaker is a great honour and privilege. Today there is a house very different from those in which I have had the privilege of sitting since my election in 1945. Here we have a minority government, and I was very interested to hear the leader of the official opposition recognize the fact that there were a number of minority parties. Consequently our Speaker is presented with a situation that will require him to tax his wisdom and tether his impatience.

It is the responsibility and duty of the Speaker to protect the individual rights of each member of this house and the rights of all groups that are in a minority position. I think it is quite correct to say that this parliament represents a particular challenge to our Speaker and all the members of this house. However, we believe that in Mr. Lambert, the hon. member for Edmonton West, we have a Speaker who will endeavour to carry out his responsibilities with complete impartiality as the champion of this legislature, which is his prime function.

In conclusion, I join with the Prime Minister, the Minister of Transport and the leader of the official opposition in supporting the election of Mr. Lambert, the member for Edmonton West, as Speaker of this parliament, and extend to him the co-operation of this group in the practice of those parliamentary principles to which we all subscribe. We sincerely wish him every success, and trust that his term of office as Speaker will add lustre to the office and to our parliamentary history and Canadian traditions. (Translation):

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. MARCEL LAMBERT, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF EDMONTON WEST
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LIB

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

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Laurier):

Mr. Raymond, the Liberal opposition has no objection to the hon. member for Edmonton West (Mr. Lambert) being elected as Speaker of the House of Commons.

The Speaker's position is most important, as the Prime Minister just indicated, due to the nature of the function he has to fulfil in this house, because parliament itself may not operate without a Speaker. Indeed, that position is even more important than that of Prime Minister, because, if he thinks that the Prime Minister is infringing the rules of the house, the Speaker can and should call him to order.

There is also another point which should be brought to the attention of the house. The Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition

said earlier today, has to be endowed with particular qualities of justice and fairness; he should know the rules of the house; he must use discretion and tact, and above all be able to interpret not only the letter but the spirit of the law. To this end it is essential to remember the rules of the house.

As was stated by those who spoke before me, the hon. member who holds the office of Speaker of the house must also be an able and experienced member of parliament.

We on this side remember how the predecessor of the hon. member for Edmonton West acted when we were but some fifty-odd Liberal members here. We seldom had to complain about the rulings made by the Hon. Mr. Michener, a calm, cool and competent man. The former speaker had never shown any partisanship before his election to that office; he had participated in several debates but he was never guilty of partisanship. Consequently, once he was in the chair he never had any trouble in upholding the rules of the house, and he was always tactful when making a ruling.

The member for Edmonton West has sometimes shown political partisanship in this house. As far as we are concerned it is a thing of the past, we have forgotten it and, as of now, we want to turn a new leaf in the history of our proceedings. I am convinced, therefore, that if the hon. member for Edmonton West will follow in his predecessor's footsteps, he will not only enjoy the admiration and respect of his colleagues in the house but will also discharge his duties to everyone's satisfaction.

I would be remiss in not congratulating warmly the hon. member on his nomination and offering him my best wishes in his new duties.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. MARCEL LAMBERT, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF EDMONTON WEST
Permalink
SC

David Réal Caouette

Social Credit

Mr. Real Caouelte (Villeneuve):

Mr. Raymond, in agreement with the leader of our party, the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Thompson), we readily support the appointment of Mr. Lambert as Speaker of the house.

I do not have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Lambert personally. However, after hearing everyone speak so well of him, I believe he will prove to be an impartial Speaker who will safeguard the rights of minorities and of every member of this house and who will probably protect also this august assembly against the infiltration of subversive ideologies, such as state socialism, for instance, and communism.

At all events, I can assure the house that we shall fully support the Speaker. We shall

Election of Speaker

co-operate with him as much as possible so that this parliament may bring to the people the results they expect from every member elected by them.

(Text):

The Clerk of the House declared the motion carried in the affirmative, nemine contradi-cente, and Marcel Joseph Aime Lambert, Esquire, member for the electoral district of Edmonton West, duly elected to the chair of the house.

Mr. Lambert was conducted from his seat in the house to the Speaker's chair by Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker and Hon. Leon Balcer.

(Translation):

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. MARCEL LAMBERT, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF EDMONTON WEST
Permalink

September 27, 1962