December 13, 1962

LIB

Alexis Pierre Caron

Liberal

Mr. Caron:

Mr. Chairman, I stuck to what you said. You asked me not to go back more than ten years. That is the reason why I concentrated on the last ten years. However, if you do not agree, I can go back only two or three years because, since then, we have been under a Conservative administration.

What is the Conservative government doing to improve the situation? Absolutely nothing.

The Conservative government is only marking time as a frisky horse, but it does not run.

That is the reason why I wanted to demonstrate that under the Liberal administration we had done something, that we had not been satisfied to go blindly on as does this government.

I wanted to point out that a Liberal government acted in a more responsible way than a Conservative government which behaves, at present, like a parliament of school boys at play.

Moreover, we have proven that this government is the worst Canada has ever known since confederation.

Never has the business of the country been in the hands of such unqualified people. Never have ministers been so undecided in their actions. Never has a prime minister administered the country as the present leader of this government is doing, taking into consideration only his own pride, trying to become famous with some little insignificant measures. The Prime Minister is never up to par when the time comes to be firm in the best interest of the country. The Conservatives have the impression that they have succeeded in condensing in one single piece of legislation many laws, most of which were already in our statute books as is the case for the Canadian Bill of Rights. At a meeting held in Hamilton, lawyers-some colleagues of yours, Mr. Chairman-were heard to say that the bill of rights changes nothing in the present situation since it is already covered by the statutes of Canada.

That is the legislation which has been enacted by the Conservative government. That is their way of governing the country. It is a government of visions and commissions.

They have set up about 19 royal commissions. Every time they are stuck with a problem, they postpone the issue by setting up a royal commission.

When a royal commission like the Mac-Pherson commission presents a report, they do not even have the courage of taking decisions. Nothing is done and the country is in a mess.

There is at present a dispute between the railroads and the trucking industry. That is due to the government's procrastination and to its failure to foresee and remedy the situation.

Every time a royal commission submits a report, they shelve it and forget about it.

Consideration has been given to the first two parts of the report presented by the commission which was set up to look into the public service. Action has already been taken without referring the question to the house. The report is being put into effect without consideration for parliament and its members.

Interim Supply

Yet, when the party in power was sitting on this side of the house, only five years ago-they will soon be back here-they claimed that the government of the time had no respect for the principles of democracy.

Do they pay any heed to those principles? Far from it, they laugh about the matter as one parliamentary secretary is doing at present instead of contributing something worthwhile to the debate.

The present government is incompetent and that is what I set out to prove. It should have the courage of giving the civil servants who are inadequately paid the salary increase to which they are entitled.

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SC
PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

I must point out to the hon. member for Bellechasse that two conditions must be met before he can ask a question. First, the member who is speaking must agree to it, and second, he must have some time left. In this case, that time had expired. Therefore, unless he can obtain the unanimous consent of the house, it will be impossible for him to ask his question.

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Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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SC

Bernard Dumont

Social Credit

Mr. Dumont:

I want to ask the hon. member if he would have agreed to the adjournment of the house in order to discuss the Grey cup, as his leader did?

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LIB

Alexis Pierre Caron

Liberal

Mr. Caron:

In asking that question the hon. member shows his ignorance or his intellectual dishonesty.

When the adjournment was suggested, it was to discuss a matter of principle more important than the Grey cup itself, namely the freedom of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in the fields of radio and television and the problem that arises through the interference of the board of broadcast governors in those fields.

That is what my leader wanted to do; when matters of principle are involved, we never give an inch.

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SC
PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

I do not believe that in committee supplementary questions are in order.

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SC

Gérard Laprise

Social Credit

Mr. Laprise:

Mr. Chairman, in my turn, I would like to take this opportunity to express my views to the house. I have the honour of representing one of the two largest ridings in the province of Quebec, one of the 22 largest in Canada.

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It is an immense riding which, in spite of a most rigorous winter and a very poor summer, would not be in such a serious situation if it had not been so neglected in the past. Located at the watershed, its subsoil is rich in minerals of all kinds, in almost infinite quantity, a large part of which is still undeveloped and untapped.

Mr. Chairman, we virtually walk on gold, on copper, on zinc and on metals of all kinds. Still, our people are reduced to extreme poverty. Unemployment is prevailing there more than anywhere else in this country, in spite of this great wealth. A few mines are being operated, but we have to export this ore in order to have it processed. We must cope with this situation as soon as possible. Moreover, the soil can be adapted to all kinds of crops. In the past, we have used it only for dairying.

In the Abitibi district, the butter dairies had to be closed because there are not enough outlets and because there are butter surpluses practically everywhere. The farmers have to buy part of their own production. That is why they lose interest in that industry. The best organized of our parishes are being deserted by farmers. Their farming revenues being too small to ensure them a decent living, they come to town where they increase the number of unemployed.

Our vast forests contain the essential products for pulpwood and timber. Here again, we must export that pulpwood, waste and bark. Yet we have waterways and waterfalls from which power could be produced to develop our own natural resources. Nobody had thought about that.

Mr. Chairman, if we directed the farm production towards beef breeding in that vast county, we could produce enough cattle for the consumption of all the population of the province of Quebec. To achieve that, the government should establish in that part of the province of Quebec an experimental farm where the climate and the nature of the soil could be studied on the spot to give better advice to cattle-breeders.

In that region which offers such possibilities, a problem has arisen which comes from that continuous concern caused by a system which allows unemployment to exist. Every part of the country suffers from that situation.

Mr. Chairman, for a long time, great men who are considered the elite of the country,

have been trying to find a solution to or the causes of unemployment for which the two traditional parties are to blame.

Unemployment is a social evil which we cannot tolerate any longer. We must stop it. We must find a means to solve that problem as soon as possible. In my opinion, the best way to achieve that is to find a better market for consumer goods. As a matter of fact, if the consumer's purchasing power is not at the same level as production, we shall never be able to solve the problem.

Mr. Chairman, unfortunately, there will be thousands of families in my constituency this winter who, as a result of unemployment, will find themselves in most difficult circumstances, who will lack food, clothing, heating and medical care. And all that, in the midst of abundance.

Most of them will not be eligible for unemployment benefits, because they have remained unemployed for so long that they do not have enough stamps to be entitled to them.

Mr. Chairman, statistics show that at one time, there were 150,000 unemployed in the country, and later they show there were 350,000 and later still, 500,000. We are inclined to believe that that is the largest number of unemployed workers. The fact remains that at one period or other of the year, there may be 250,000 unemployed persons, and the number increases later on. But some of the first group, at least, have found employment, which means that by the end of the year probably one million workers might be considered as having been unemployed at some time or other during the year. So the problem of the person who has been unemployed for three, four, five or even six months in the year is not settled the day he finds employment. This class of worker must be considered as being in need, because we see that those who are lucky enough to hold permanent jobs barely manage to make both ends meet with their regular pay. Therefore, the workless, those who have to do without any income for part of the year, know the worries which can be caused by such a problem.

Mr. Chairman, there is another problem in my constituency. In my district, there are unincorporated parishes, apart from the municipal corporations. Now, the winter works program which was set up by this government

a few years ago allows municipalities to develop projects and take advantage of that program. Let us see. May I quote the first paragraph of a small folder on the winter works program which I was given. It reads as follows:

The purpose of the municipal winter works program is to give an incentive to municipalities and communities to multiply the employment opportunities during winter-

It seems to me this means that the parishes not incorporated in municipalities can also take advantage of this winter works promotion program. However, after having checked on the matter, I have been told that the communities, in order to take advantage of this program, must apply to the county council or corporation. Then, I wondered why the corporation of the county of Abitibi was not helping out its localities. I have investigated, and here is the answer which I received from the corporation of the Abitibi county. I quote:

When you came to my office, I told you what the situation was, and the reeve has asked me to give you a written confirmation of the decision taken by the county council.

It goes without saying that this reply is from the secretary of the corporation. I continue:

This decision is to the effect that the corporation of Abitibi county, as a corporation, flatly refuses to take in charge the winter works program in the unorganized territories.

Mr. Chairman, this does not bring any solution to the problem of the communities.

I fully appreciate that the corporation of Abitibi county must be facing the same financial problem as nearly all the other municipalities. It has not enough money in its treasury to assist the non-incorporated parishes.

The county corporation must provide for at least 10 per cent of the salary and cost of building materials.

But the corporation does not have sufficient funds to help so many communities. That is why it cannot accomplish this task alone.

I, therefore, asked on various occasions, in this house, what the Minister of Labour intended to do in this matter, and I was told each time that I was out of order. Nobody wanted to answer those questions.

In this case, I believe it would be a good thing if the Minister of Labour, and perhaps even other members of the government came down to the level of the working classes. I even invite them to visit the Abitibi district,

Interim Supply

the county of Chapleau which I represent, to see for themselves what problems exist in that district. They would in future be in a better position to evaluate our claims.

Mr. Chairman, I do not want to dwell too much upon the subject under discussion this afternoon, but I would like to point out to the house that, in order to remedy as soon as possible the problems which our working people have to face, as well as our farmers, who have only a very small income-and some of them have practically none-and even our labourers, our workers who are unable to find any employment in their field, the government should immediately provide for a raise in family allowances to help those people right now, without increasing taxes, of course, because this always spoils the effect.

The government should also increase the so-called old age pensions and lower the retirement age. We should also increase pensions to disabled persons, to the blind and to all those in need, in order to enable them to live decently in a Canada as wealthy as it is, without having to beg elsewhere for the basic requirements of life.

Now, Mr. Chairman, such is not the case. Such measures are needed in the shortest possible time to give satisfaction to that population which would only be too happy to benefit from all the advantages Canada has to offer with all its national wealth.

Now, Mr. Chairman, we are requesting-I request it for my riding as well as for all other parts of Canada-a basic tax exemption on personal income tax raised to $5,000 per year for married people and to $3,000 for single taxpayers. In addition, it would be wise for the government to give exemptions from municipal and school taxes, in the form of a refund of municipal and school taxes, to any property owner receiving some kind of government pension.

Among about a hundred letters which I recently received, one referred to a rather pitiable case. A government pensioner who lives with his wife and who only gets $89 a month owes a $500 tax bill. When you figure the cost of electricity, water and insurance premiums, etc., you realize that they must spend $56 per month for those items alone. Now, under such circumstances, needless to say those people would prefer to lead a normal life and it is up to us to enable them to do so.

That is why we are asking for all that. If the government does not take steps to remedy the situation pretty soon, you can be sure that I will be ready to help throw it out of office.

Private Bills

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NDP

Thomas Rodney Berger

New Democratic Party

Mr. Berger:

Mr. Chairman, I want to talk about the Columbia river treaty. The members of the New Democratic party believe that this treaty is an improvident one. It assigns to Canada the job of storing vast quantities of water, while effectively depriving Canada of the right to use the waters of the Columbia river not only for the purpose of generating electricity but also for agricultural and industrial purposes.

This treaty, if it is proceeded with, will stunt the agricultural and industrial development of British Columbia, and indeed of the prairie provinces, not just for years to come but for generations to come. This country has for years been a country of hewers of wood and drawers of water. Successive governments have been guilty of exporting Canadian resources on a wholesale basis to the United States-our oil, our minerals and our lumber. We have simply, for many, many years, been doing nothing more than that, and this is true not only of this government but of all its predecessors going back over the years. We have been giving up our resources and depriving Canadians of the opportunity to build the kind of industry we will need in this country if we are going to provide the standard of living Canadians have a right to enjoy.

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PC

Rémi Paul (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Progressive Conservative

The Deputy Chairman:

Order; it being five o'clock it is my duty to leave the chair so that the house may proceed to the consideration of private members' business, pursuant to section 3 of standing order 15.

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PRIVATE BILLS

LIB

Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton

Liberal

Mr. Alan Macnaughlon (Mount Royal):

Mr. Speaker, by leave of the house may I request the unanimous consent of the house to giving precedence to item No. 10 appearing on page 21 of the orders of the day, a bill standing in my name?

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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member for Mount Royal (Mr. Macnaughton) requests the unanimous consent of the house to giving his bill, standing as item No. 10, precedence over items 1 to 9.

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Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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LIB

Paul Theodore Hellyer

Liberal

Hon. Paul Hellyer (Trinity):

Mr. Speaker, if this procedure is agreeable to the house there may be other hon. members who would wish to have the same privilege. I would like to bring forward the bill standing in my name, but perhaps we could deal with them

one at a time and leave them until the first order of business has been dealt with.

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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

The hon. member is referring to item No. 407, I take it?

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LIB
NDP

William Arnold Peters

New Democratic Party

Mr. Arnold Peters (Timiskaming):

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that we follow the procedure of asking that precedence be given to these bills on the next day they come up for discussion. Some of these items are quite a long way down the order paper and there may be hon. members who wish to speak on them who would otherwise be denied the right. This right would be guaranteed them if we agreed to give them precedence on the next occasion these bills come up for discussion.

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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

May I indicate to the hon. member that the hon. member for Mount Royal made a similar request on Tuesday. The house did not deal with it as an order. The house moved to consider a certain item in the name of the hon. member for Marquette (Mr. Mandziuk). I do not know whether that is deemed to be sufficient notice; that is entirely up to the house. The house, naturally, must give its unanimous consent to this being done. Does the house give unanimous consent?

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December 13, 1962