February 4, 1963

?

An hon. Member:

There was.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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SC

Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Thompson:

In spite of the fact that this was the environment in which they were administering the affairs of this country, they bungled the affairs of the administration of the country so much that the people of Canada were compelled to turn them out.

The reason why we have come to this conclusion at the present time is simply that I believe the people of Canada expect and deserve something better than what we are giving to them in this house at the present time. Therefore, in amendment to the amendment which has been moved by the leader of the official opposition, seconded by the hon. member for Quebec-Montmorency (Mr. Marcoux) I move as follows:

That all the words after "government" be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

"has failed up to this time to give a clear statement of policy respecting Canada's national defence, and has failed to organize the business of the house so that the 1963-64 estimates and budget could be introduced, and has failed to outline a positive program of follow-up action respecting many things for which this parliament and previous parliaments have already given authority, and does not have the confidence of the Canadian people.

The amendment would then read as follows:

This government has failed up to this time to give a clear statement of policy respecting Canada's national defence, and has failed to organize the business of the house so that the 1963-64 estimates and budget could be introduced, and has failed to outline a positive program of follow-up action respecting many things for which this parliament and previous parliaments have already given authority, and does not have the confidence of the Canadian people.

It is not my intention, Mr. Speaker, to prolong this debate on our part except to say that we sincerely regret that we have not been able to give leadership to the administration of the public affairs of this country in a better way. It is not sufficient that we just try to build each other up by knocking each other down. What we must have is a positive, constructive approach to our problems. Let us remember that a wrong decision is probably not as bad as no decision at all.

CMr. Thompson.!

What we shall be accused of in this house of minorities in this twenty fifth parliament, as I believe history will record it, is that we were unable to come to decisions that would transform policies into action. Therefore we have failed the electorate who put us here.

I believe that the only way in which we can possibly correct this situation is to go back to the people and ask them for a new mandate, trusting that they will have seen the folly in both of the old parties. The awakening realization that Canada in these changing times needs to reaffirm her stand on the basic elements of democracy, needs to come to grips with the application of those principles on which I believe we in this house all agree. It means to adapt our methods so that they will fit the conditions so that that which we are able to produce, whether it be goods or services, in whatever realm or whatever kind we think of, is available to the Canadian people according to their willingness to work, their enterprise and their pioneering spirit.

While I say I am disappointed with this house of minorities in this twenty fifth parliament, I have much conviction, hope, and assurance with regard to the Canadian people. I believe that Canada is a great nation and that, without exception, Canada has one of the greatest peoples in the world. We have heard words this afternoon about the great heritages that have been carried into confederation and passed on to us today through the mother races which came together in confederation. On top of that there has been added the cultural heritage and the pioneering spirit and the determination of millions of new Canadians to live as free men. I think we can set an example to the world if only we had a government that gave leadership that would lead us forward during the next four years and prove to the world that people can live together and move forward in the development not only of its human but its material resources. It was this confidence and this assurance that gave me the spirit and the will to go forward to try to make some contribution to the public affairs of our nation and of this world. If the experiment which is Canada should fail, what hope is there for peace and the peaceful development of the world? I maintain that there is none. Therefore as we stand at this critical threshold in the history of our nation and in our responsibilities to this parliament, I believe that each one of us must look upon these things mighty carefully and realize our responsibility as leaders. We are leaders in Canada.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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PC

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

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Speaker:

Order. I regret interrupting the hon. member but I must inform him that the clock has imposed sanctions.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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SC

Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Thompson:

If I may, I will just finish this sentence.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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?

An hon. Member:

Carry on.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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SC

Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Thompson:

The very fact that thousands of people elected us, sent each one of us here, indicates to me that we are leaders. Therefore we must go out and prove to Canada that we are leaders worthy of the confidence they have placed in us, that we might carry out our part in the ever increasing and important role of public administration as it relates to the over-all picture. We have therefore come to this decision which I have now made clear, namely that our only alternative is to go back to the people for an expression of their will.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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NDP

David Lewis

New Democratic Party

Mr. David Lewis (York South):

Mr. Speaker, I felt that the hon. member for Red Deer (Mr. Thompson) said some things with which I cannot help but agree. He said that Canada is a great nation and that we are one of the greatest peoples on earth. Since that, I assume, includes me, I feel flattered by his words and agree with him. It is the kind of peroration which is bound to get unanimous agreement. I might also say, Mr. Speaker, before becoming more serious, that the hon. member does not cease to astound me. When he read almost the whole of the editorial on the front page of the Globe and Mail before dinner it was obvious that he was going to be against an election taking place now. He then went to dinner and whether he ate something that agreed with him or ate something that disagreed with him-

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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NDP

David Lewis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lewis:

-I am not sure which, Mr. Speaker-he changed his mind, as he has a right to do. I merely mention it as a matter of amusement on this day of debate, which may be one of the last days of debate in this parliament.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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?

An hon. Member:

Be serious.

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NDP

David Lewis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lewis:

I will be serious in a moment- not only serious, may I inform my hon. friend, but relevant to the issues that face Canada and the world, instead of the nonsense that we hear from across the way.

On a number of occasions we of the New Democratic party have indicated to the house and to the people that we have no confidence in the government. 1 do not think there is anyone here or elsewhere in any doubt about that. But I ask you, sir, to look at the omnibus amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Pearson) and, indeed, at the omnibus subamendment moved by the leader of the Social Credit party. I suggest to you

Alleged Lack of Government Leadership that this is further evidence that the Liberals are so hungry for power they are not concerned with dealing with any specific matter that this house ought to be considering and on which this house ought to be asked to declare its mind. I will come to that specific matter in particular a little later. It also proves, I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that the leader of the Social Credit party is so concerned with portraying an image to this house and to the country that he was not able, either, to place before the house some specific and concrete issue on which our votes should be cast.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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?

An hon. Member:

Oh, come off it.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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NDP

David Lewis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lewis:

Why not a specific point? Why not have some specific policy? Unfortunately it is not possible for me on behalf of the New Democratic party to move an amendment embodying such a specific policy. Why not some specific policy on which we can declare our stand? As the Leader of the Opposition was speaking I could not help but notice with what glee, as well as a broad smile, he stated that his objective is to get this parliament home and this government out, and with what tremendous joy his followers behind him banged their desks, as if to get rid of this or any other particular government is the be-all and end-all of the exercises in this parliament and of the duties of members of parliament.

I have voted against this government and no doubt I shall have the opportunity to do so again. My party will greet any chance to go to the people and present our policies with the same satisfaction that we have always had in the past.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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?

An hon. Member:

Self-satisfaction.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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NDP

David Lewis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lewis:

If we have the chance we will put before them what in our conscience we believe Canada and the Canadian people require, and if my hon. friend will wait he will see exactly what we will do with the chance when the time comes.

I suggest it is not enough for the benches opposite the treasury benches to talk in generalities about leadership and to talk in generalities about the indecision of the government. The party that is now the official opposition to the government was in power for 22 years and particularly from 1948 and 1949 to 1957, when the Leader of the Opposition was one of the most prominent members of the government then in power, we had the most do-nothing government in the history of Canada. This was the government which when faced with the needs of the elderly people of Canada, when faced with the duty to do something for those who had offered their lives for this country, felt itself satisfied,

3416 HOUSE OF COMMONS

Alleged Lack, of Government Leadership in a day of such prosperity that they still boast about it, to give them $6 a month. These people, Mr. Speaker, talk to this parliament and to the country about leadership, decisiveness, imagination and boldness; people who have shown throughout the years such adherence to the shibboleths and the blindness of the establishment in the present society; as to have condemned themselves as incapable of leadership before or now or in the future.

What is that leadership about which the Leader of the Opposition talks? Everyone in this house knows that an election is bound to come. It is bound to come within days or within weeks. Everybody in this country knows that, and now that the leader of the Social Credit party has had dinner it may come within days rather than within weeks. Everybody in Canada knows that; everybody in Canada understands that; but what in my experience the people of Canada do not understand is the timid manoeuvring of the government in the last while to avoid defeat at any cost instead of presenting to parliament and to the people a program on which they would be prepared to go down, if go down they must, having made some real attempt to serve this country.

What the people also do not understand is the Liberals' indecent haste to scramble over to the treasury benches, not on any positive program which they present but on the growing disgust of the Canadian people with the inaction and indecision of the government.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the hon. gentleman would permit me to ask a question?

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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?

Some hon. Members:

Sit down.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Why is the hon. gentleman so sure that the Liberal party will win the election?

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NDP

David Lewis

New Democratic Party

Mr. Lewis:

Mr. Speaker, if I may be permitted a personal remark about a gentleman for whose friendship I have great regard- and I hope it continues-I have learned since being a member of this house that the hon. member for Bonavista-Twillingate (Mr. Pickersgill) would rather make some kind of political remark, relevant or irrelevant, than discuss anything of value or of substance, and the temptation to make political remarks is typical of his questions. Not only am I not sure that the Liberals will win the next election, I am confident the Liberals will not win the next election. The sad fact of the present Canadian political situation is that the people of Canada from coast to coast-

[Ur. Lewis.]

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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. Will the hon. member yield the floor to an hon. lady?

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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February 4, 1963