Do not ask too much of Social Crediters.
No. I know that I am somewhat exacting.
But during the 22 years that we were in power and perhaps a little before, our social legislation was written in our statutes by the Liberal party, our whole social legislation with no exception. The Conservative party did not initiate a single piece of social legislation.
If today, in spite of the crisis that we undergo, the people suffer in a somewhat lesser degree than during the last crisis, it is because the Liberal party had established the Unemployment Insurance Act, which makes it possible to correct the situation to a certain degree. Without such legislation on the part of the Liberals of the day, conditions would be worse than in 1930-35. It is thanks to the Liberal party that hardship has been somewhat alleviated.
Would the hon. member allow me to ask a question?
What could you answer to this, which is reported in Hansard of April
4, 1957? It is a question directed to the minister of labour of that day:
Does the minister know that a good number of the employees of his department in British Columbia are in arrears for periods of up to seven months in respect of overtime pay, involving sums amounting in certain cases to over $500;
Is that the same as with the Conservatives?
That is a question which I have not had the opportunity of considering, but if it was in 1957, it might as well have been under the Conservative government as under the Liberal administration.
The date is April 4, 1957.
In any case, I do not pretend that the Liberal party has been absolute perfection. Perfection is not of this world. Man is a finite being who must bear something of the original sin and carry it about with him, as you all have to carry the load of your own faults and even those of your leader, Mr. Caouette.
The Deputy Chairman:
I have been listening with great interest to the remarks of the hon. member for Hull (Mr. Caron), but I am certain that because of his parliamentary experience he will recall that we are now discussing particular items, and I know that, as the rule of relevancy applies in this case, the present remarks of the hon. member are not those we may expect in this house except when we are, for instance, discussing the speech from the throne.
Mr. Chairman, during the debate on the first item of the interim supply or on the main estimates, it has been the custom in this house to let us edge away a little bit from the item before the house. Such was the opinion expressed by your immediate predecessor in the chair. He allowed discussion of the Columbia river question-
The Deputy Chairman:
Mr. Chairman, allow me to continue with my remarks before you give your ruling.
The Deputy Chairman:
When the hon. member states it is permissible to wander away a little bit from the subject under discussion, I agree with him. But a practical meaning must be given to the expression "a little bit".
Mr. Chairman, when I refer to those matters, I am dealing with questions which relate to the financial administration of this country. I am entitled to mention what was accomplished in the past, in order to determine what has not been done recently and what is not being done now under the present regime. That is why I was enumerating all the social security acts passed by the Liberal party.
In 1927, the Old Age Pensions Act, which provided for a means test, for persons 70 years of age and over; in 1940, the Unemployment Insurance Act; in 1942, the Provincial Assistance Act, to promote the building of technical schools, thus enabling thousands of young people to learn a trade; in 1944, the Family Allowances Act, which was so beneficial to this country; in 1948, the national health program, by means of which grants were to be paid for the enlargement of hospitals, in anticipation of the Hospital Insurance Act now in force; in 1951, the Old Age Security Act, without a means test, for every person of 70 years of age and over; in 1951-
The Deputy Chairman:
Order. I cannot allow the hon. member to criticize the present government's administration by making a review of the political activities of one or the other of the previous governments. I respectfully submit that those remarks are not in order.
Mr. Speaker, I find your ruling a little strict. I was making comparisons between what was done and what was not done or is not being done. I am not supposed to merely observe that I do not approve the budget because I do not like it for if that was the case, my observations would be rather limited.
I think I am entitled to prove by way of what was done in the past what this government is not doing in respect of social security legislation as well as in other fields.
Those who wished to do so were allowed to discuss the Columbia river project. A discussion on transportation was allowed, but when I try to recall what was accomplished by the Liberal party, I am immediately attacked by Conservatives and Creditists. I submit it is unfair to prevent me to recall what was done by the Liberal party compared to what the present administration has done since 1959. Besides, my recital is short and I was almost through because I had reached 1951 when was adopted the Blind Persons Act; in 1954, the Disabled Persons Act; in 1956-
The Depuiy Chairman: Order. Once more, I must point out to the hon. member who has the floor that he is commenting on certain discussions which took place in this house. He mentioned, for instance, the matter of the Columbia river. He will agree that that is a problem of the present administration.
Once again, I am asking the hon. member to limit his criticism to the present administration, provided he does not refer to past administrations of a decade or so ago.
I rise on a point of order. I
find it strange that the chairman is so, I will not say unfair because I know you are trying to be fair in your rulings, but 1 will say so strict when this government is asking the house every month to vote one twelfth of the annual supply required to manage the business of a nation such as Canada. Name a business firm which would ask a bank every month for a $10,000 or $100,000 loan without submitting a financial statement.
The Depuiy Chairman: I believe the hon. member's remarks do not constitute a point of order.
On a point of order; one word only. When the four war horses of the Liberal party are absent, let the colts talk.
The Depuiy Chairman: In my opinion, the member for Bellechasse has no reason for raising a point of order.
Mr. Chairman, as the member for Villeneuve is away, the member for Bellechasse is free to talk.
I shall not go back to ten years ago, but only as far as 1954. Disability pensions; in 1956, legislation promoting equal salaries for women-
On a point of order.
The Depuiy Chairman: The hon. member is an experienced parliamentarian and he should follow the Chair's instructions. If they do not suit him, the rules provide certain procedures to refuse them.
However, I trust to his vast experience and I am sure that he will get back to the subject before us: this government's administration.