October 4, 1962

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Just wait. I would advise the hon. member for Halifax to keep quiet. I continue:

They were wrong in July, 1946. Is there any reason to believe that they were right in November, 1947? I suggest to the Minister of Justice that in order to bring back to the House of Commons its powers we have brought before a committee of this house Dr. Clark, Mr. Towers. Mr. Rasminsky, and other members of that group.

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?

Agar Rodney Adamson

Mr. Adamson:

Mr. Bryce also.

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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Prime Minister)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

They should be brought before parliament and examined to ascertain whether they made the recommendation to the government on November 17 or prior thereto or whether it was the government that suggested to them the means whereby they could utilize the Foreign Exchange Control Act for the purposes they had in view.

In other words, he knew there was a Foreign Exchange Control Act in 1947. He told this house the other day there was no legal authority. Does that show any respect for the truth? It does not. How can you depend on any statement by a man who would say that? You know, the Prime Minister talks about invisible incognitos. Of course, they were public servants. We know what the Prime Minister thinks about public servants. They belong to that same group of public servants as a certain gentleman who is incognito in this house. I refer to that recent addition to the ministry, the barefoot boy from Bay street. He is one of the people who, according to the Prime Minister, were trampling the liberties of this country under the late C. D. Howe during the war years; that is the incognito who is running the government of Canada today. He is not in this house. He is not facing the elected representatives of the people. I say that we will want the Minister of Justice (Mr. Fleming) to bring him before the banking and commerce committee. We will want him to bring officials of the Department of Finance, as the Prime Minister said we should in 1947. We will want him to bring them all here. We will want to find out when they started to prepare this austerity program.

We know one thing. We know that the day parliament was dissolved or the following day, the Minister of Finance told the departments to cut $50 million out of the estimates while this government was pretending that they were going to spend that money in order to buy votes by the pretense of works that they never intended to carry out.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinlon):

That is not true.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

The minister knows perfectly well that is true; that process was started. There are too many people in Ottawa who knew about it, and in other places than Ottawa. I have not the faintest doubt but that on the day the government put a rubber

The Address-Mr. Pickersgill peg on the dollar, May 3, they started to prepare this austerity program. Perhaps the then minister of finance did not tell the Prime Minister. Perhaps the officials were smart enough not even to tell the then minister of finance in order to save him from embarrassment. I was a public servant for a very long time. I know something about how long it takes to do these things. I know quite well that this order in council and the policy based thereon could not possibly have been prepared between the 20th or 21st, was it, when the distinguished Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Hamilton) said there was no crisis, and the date of the order. He was a member of the cabinet. In those four days we are asked by these truth tellers to believe, that that order was prepared. The minister knows quite well that the preparation of this whole program began at least as early as the pegging of the dollar, probably earlier.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinton):

That is false; that is a false statement.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

The minister can get up and say it is false. He can get up and make a speech in this debate if he dares. He has been repudiated and cast aside by the Prime Minister. He has served his purpose and now he is on the rubbish heap. Moreover, I say that there is every reason to believe the election was brought on when it was, every reason to believe we were denied a budget debate, every reason to believe the government did not proceed with the budget resolutions because the minister knew full well that a financial crisis was coming and hoped to get the election over before the crisis and fool the people.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinion):

Every word of that is false.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

This government had many supporters. There was no urgency for an election at that particular moment. This budgetary program was left suspended in mid air; there was extraordinary haste. What was the reason for it? The reason was that they could see, they had been warned, a crisis was coming. We know some of these officials. We know what competent people they are.

Of course, you know, we heard the Prime Minister on January 20, 1958, say "They hid it; they concealed it." This is exactly what they did. They knew full well when the budget was brought down that there was a critical situation in foreign exchange. As a matter of fact, I took the trouble to read the section of the minister's budget speech relating to exchange just before I undertook to make this speech today. It is quite clear from a reading of that budget speech that the minister already had an inkling of the crisis.

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PC

Donald Methuen Fleming (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Fleming (Eglinton):

That is untrue.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

There is another thing that is clear. At that time, there was not the faintest intention of pegging the dollar. The situation was quite the reverse. The minister made a strong defence of the floating rate and gave very strong and compelling arguments as to why there should not be any pegging. Then, the government have the effrontery to tell us that, when the crisis came on May 3 and they had to do something; that it was planned all the time. If it was planned all the time, why was it not in the budget? Why were we not allowed to debate it? Why was it not done properly in parliament? Why did this suddenly blow up in the middle of an election?

The plain fact is, sir, that one does not have to go into any kind of detail. Ask our constituents. You do not have to ask them, they tell us. I am sure every hon. member, including a lot of backbenchers over there and perhaps a lot of frontbenchers too, have heard the same thing from their electors. How can they possibly expect anybody to vote for them after the way the government fooled us? That is what the people of this country believe because it is a fact; it is palpable and obvious.

May I call it six o'clock?

At six o'clock the house took recess.

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AFTER RECESS The house resumed at 8 p.m.


LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

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PC

Michael Starr (Minister of Labour)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Starr:

You were getting your money from the United States at that time.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

And what did they do about it? They finally made this great discovery after the election. They imposed taxes by order in council under statutes which were never intended for the purpose and, unlike Mr. Abbott, who promptly brought his measures to parliament and gave parliament every opportunity to approve it, there was no mention of it in the speech from the throne-no suggestion that parliament should approve this taxation. We just have taxation by television and order in council. This great champion of parliament imposes taxation by television and order in council, and when parliament meets there is no suggestion that we should have any right to approve it. This is the government that the hon. member for Peace River is going to support-the most dismal failure, he said, in the history of Canada-a government which he said will give us 20 per cent unemployment this winter. The hon. member for Peace River is going to vote for a government which he said will give us 20 per cent unemployment.

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SC

Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Thompson:

There is just one question. I think the hon. member should study his geography a little better.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

I beg the hon. gentleman's pardon. If I made-

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PC

Gordon Campbell Chown (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order. The hon.

gentleman ran over his allotted time and accordingly there will have to be unanimous consent by the house if he is to continue.

The Address-Hon. D. M. Fleming

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

It was a question of privilege.

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SC

Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Thompson:

I will say no more.

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October 4, 1962