May 16, 1963

HOUSE OF COMMONS DEBATES

OFFICIAL REPORT


House of Commons debates



Speaker: The Honourable Alan A. Macnaughton


FIRST SESSION-TWENTY SIXTH PARLIAMENT


The twenty fifth parliament having been dissolved by a proclamation on Wednesday, February 6, and writs having been issued and returned, a new parliament was summoned to meet for the dispatch of business on Thursday, May 16, 1963, and did accordingly meet on that day. Thursday, May 16, 1963 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 assistant secretary to the Governor General informing him that the Honourable J. R. Cartwright, M.C., puisne judge of the Supreme Court of Canada, in his capacity as Deputy Governor General, would proceed to the Senate chamber to open the first session of the twenty sixth parliament of Canada on Thursday, the sixteenth day of May, at 10.30 a.m. 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 the Honourable the Deputy 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, the administrator of the government of Canada will declare the causes of calling this parliament. And the house being returned to the Commons chamber:


ELECTION OF SPEAKER

MR. ALAN A. MACNAUGHTON, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF MOUNT ROYAL

LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. B. Pearson (Prime Minister):

Mr. Raymond, it is a source of some encouragement to me to feel that the first words I utter from this side of the house may, I believe will, receive more approval, indeed I hope unanimous approval, than some I may be uttering as the session continues. We have just been reminded, in a ceremony that goes to the very roots of our parliamentary history and emphasizes the continuity of that history, that we will not be in a position to receive the speech from the throne, indeed we will not be in a position to take any action-in fact I am not sure that we are constituted as a House of Commons at all

until we choose a Speaker. It is my duty to begin the process of rectifying this omission, and for that purpose it is my privilege to nominate the hon. member for Mount Royal, Mr. Alan Aylesworth Macnaughton.

Mr. Macnaughton was born in Ontario and was educated in Ontario, Quebec and the United Kingdom. He is a Queen's counsel learned in the law, and he has had experience and success in business. He has been a member of the house since 1949 and has made distinguished contributions to the work of parliament during that period.

Perhaps I might be permitted to mention particularly his work during the twenty fourth parliament as chairman of the public accounts committee, when he showed those qualities

Election of Speaker

of impartiality, objectivity, a sense of proportion and f airness which I believe make him eminently suitable for the high office of Speaker of this house. In that office he will be the guardian of the rights and privileges of the house and of all the hon. members of the house in accordance with the historical and valued traditions of our parliamentary system inherited from the mother of parliaments at Westminster.

His functions, of course, will also include presiding over the deliberations of the house, not always the easiest responsibility to discharge and one requiring both judicial fairness and impartial firmness.

Perhaps the qualities that are required for a Speaker of the House of Commons were never better described than by the Greek philosopher Socrates when, referring to the qualities that are required for a judge, he said, "four things belong to a judge; to hear courteously, to answer wisely, to consider soberly and to decide impartially." I believe the hon. member for Mount Royal has these qualities to a very unusual degree; therefore I take great pleasure in moving, seconded by the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chevrier):

That Alan A. Macnaughton, Esquire, member for the electoral district of Mount Royal, do take the chair of this house as Speaker.

(Translation):

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. ALAN A. MACNAUGHTON, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF MOUNT ROYAL
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LIB

Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada)

Liberal

Hon. Lionel Chevrier (Minister of Justice):

Mr. Raymond, it gives me great pleasure to second the motion of the Prime Minister (Mr. Pearson) for the nomination of Mr. Alan Macnaughton, member for Mount Royal, as Speaker of this house.

As the Prime Minister pointed out a while ago, we have known Mr. Macnaughton for many years. In fact, not only do we know him for his qualities as member of the House of Commons, but more particularly for the talent he has shown as chairman of the public accounts committee.

As I recall, the task of that committee was both difficult and delicate, and when the then prime minister suggested that Mr. Macnaughton be appointed chairman of that committee, I must tell the house that each and every one of us entertained some misgivings as to the manner in which both the members and the chairman of the said committee would behave. However, Mr. Macnaughton discharged his duties in brilliant fashion and also with a sense of fairness to all members regardless of their political affiliation.

I am pleased, therefore, to second the motion of the Prime Minister and wish to add that Mr. Macnaughton, who already has the required qualifications, will show wisdom, intelligence, patience and calm in the performance of his important functions.

IMr. Pearson.]

(Text):

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. ALAN A. MACNAUGHTON, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF MOUNT ROYAL
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Raymond, my first words as Leader of the Opposition will be in full agreement with what the Prime Minister has said regarding the qualifications of Mr. Macnaughton. I am sure this will not be one of those occasions that will be taken as a precedent for the days ahead, in that my first words are of agreement with the leader of the government. As he said, the Speaker of the House of Commons has a high and exalted position, one revered in the history and the traditions of British parliamentary government and, as the Prime Minister has said, a position that commands high qualities, knowledge of parliament and its traditions, recognition of the rights of minorities and the preservation of the ancient privileges of parliament. He needs tact and, as one British Speaker said, the ability to hear when it is appropriate to do so and not to see when it is appropriate not to see. In other words he needs to have that tact which maintains the traditional atmosphere of parliament, which maintains decorum in the thrust of debate, and above all assures that of which the famed Speaker of the British House of Commons, Mr. Lowther, has said:

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 and prearranged, or even spontaneous, noise and violence.

In other words, if this and all other parliaments are to be effective there must be that co-operation among hon. members to assure that the institution shall be preserved as a deliberative body wherein free speech is the right, not the privilege, of every hon. member of the house.

The Speaker is the custodian of the rights of parliament. He has great rights and great privileges. In the United Kingdom he enjoys freedom from income tax. That is one of the rights that we have not brought to this country for the Speaker, but in these 60 days of decision the Speaker who is chosen may live in hope that this will be included in the promised beneficence of those who now hold office.

Mr. Clerk, I noted in the remarks of the Prime Minister that he did not make any reference to bringing about that of which he spoke on a number of occasions, the permanence of the Speaker, making it possible even under our system for a Speaker to have that authority which comes through permanence. In that connection I would point out that in 1957 I endeavoured to take a step in that direction, but it was not effective. The Prime

Minister of today has often spoken in favour of this, and I would have thought this would be an occasion when he would have been able, in his position of responsibility, to give his views thereon. In point of fact it has been debated recently in the British House of Commons, the mother of parliaments. There, on April 23, a bill came before the house which would have provided for the setting up of a special constituency known as the electoral district of St. Stephen.

It is of interest that a similar view has been expressed in our parliament. In the course of the debate, limited as it was, it was pointed out that it is better to have a permanent Speaker who is a member of the House of Commons, rather than one set apart through a medium other than election. In other words, the first commoner should be one of us, and I would hope that we, in the days ahead, will be able, in the setting up of the Speaker's committee, to deal with this question in order to assure that we in our country, recognizing the constitution as it is and the inherent bilingualism of our country, will be able to achieve the strength and authority that comes from permanence of this office.

Now, speaking of the nominee may I say this. The Prime Minister referred to the fact that Mr. Macnaughton had been chairman of the public accounts committee. That was a step we took in order to make that body effective, strong and efficient. He discharged his responsibilities there with ability, capacity and impartiality.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. ALAN A. MACNAUGHTON, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF MOUNT ROYAL
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. ALAN A. MACNAUGHTON, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF MOUNT ROYAL
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Mention was made of the fact that he was raised in Ontario and had gone to Quebec. There are other instances among the members of this house in which that has been an effective result. I congratulate the Prime Minister upon his nomination of Mr. Macnaughton, and in a spirit of co-operation which I hope will be effective in all parts of this house we will endeavour to do our part, if he is chosen, to make him the great Speaker for which his experience as chairman of that committee indicates he has the talents and capacity.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. ALAN A. MACNAUGHTON, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF MOUNT ROYAL
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SC

Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. R. N. Thompson (Red Deer):

Monsieur Raymond, it would be repetitious to again go over the importance which the position of Speaker holds in this House of Commons and the necessity of having in this position a man who can, in fairness, chair the proceedings of the house and give the stability which only the Speaker can give the house. We do agree with the remarks which have been made by the Prime Minister (Mr. Pearson) and by the leader of the official opposition (Mr. Diefenbaker) in this regard.

Election of Speaker

I believe it is our responsibility to consider carefully during the days ahead-and I believe this responsibility falls particularly on the Prime Minister-those reforms which will make the position of Speaker permanent in our midst. It is not an easy task that we are asking the hon. member for Mount Royal to perform, if we give our approval, which I trust we will. It would add much to the efficient carrying out of his responsibilities if he were to have the permanence about which the Leader of the Opposition has just spoken.

I trust that the Prime Minister will have more success in the months ahead in establishing the permanency of the Speaker than did the leader of the official opposition when he was prime minister. It is something that we all talk about being in agreement with, but it seems it is very difficult to produce the necessary action to bring in those reforms. We in our group are in favour of action being worked out in the necessary committee, and proposals being studied and put through to effect such a reform.

We as a group do not know Mr. Macnaughton, the hon. member for Mount Royal, so well personally, but last year we were impressed with the manner in which he carried out his responsibilities as chairman of the public accounts committee. If he carries that same ability and fairness into this position, I am sure he will prove himself an able Speaker of this house, if he is given our confidence. For our group it is with a great deal of pleasure that I state we will give our support to his nomination. Certainly the country needs a responsible attitude in this House of Commons toward the needs of our country, and this is a very good way in which it can begin.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. ALAN A. MACNAUGHTON, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF MOUNT ROYAL
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. T. C. Douglas (Burnaby-Coquitlam):

Mr. Raymond, the New Democratic party members of this house are happy to support the motion which has been moved by the Prime Minister.

We feel that the nominee, Mr. Macnaughton, the member of parliament for Mount Royal, is eminently suited to occupy this high post. In spite of the unanimity which has greeted his nomination we shall witness in a few moments the hon. gentleman having to be dragged to the Speaker's chair. This is part of a long tradition by which members always express great reluctance to occupy this post. This was understandable in days gone by, when it meant the possible loss of your head by an irate monarch, but I am sure that even now the reluctance is not completely feigned. To leave the floor of the House of Commons and accept this exalted position does imply some hardship and some surrender of the things one would like to do, for

Election of Speaker

when a man occupies the Speaker's post he ceases to be the servant of a party or of the government and becomes a servant of this House of Commons. It is his task to see that the rights of all members are protected and maintained, and particularly the rights of minorities and the rights of the House of Commons itself.

Every member of parliament remembers with some pride the words of an earlier speaker of the mother of parliaments, Speaker Lenthall, who said to a monarch, King Charles I, "I have neither ears to hear nor eyes to see but such as this house shall command me". It is this tradition which has made our parliamentary institutions possible, that we have a member who is set aside to be the servant, not of parliament, not of the government, not of the opposition, but of the house itself.

We sir, will be very glad to support this motion and to co-operate with the hon. gentleman when he occupies this post, in order that this twenty sixth parliament may be useful and effective.

(Translation):

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. ALAN A. MACNAUGHTON, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF MOUNT ROYAL
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PC

Georges-J. Valade

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Georges Valade (Si. Mary):

Mr. Raymond, it is with great pleasure that I join with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Diefenbaker) to support the nomination of the hon. member for Mount Royal (Mr. Macnaughton) as Speaker of the house.

I feel it is appropriate that, as a member of a Montreal riding, I should be asked to support the nomination of a fellow member from the metropolis of Canada.

That this agreeable task should have been entrusted to a backbencher makes me feel very proud and shows that the Leader of the Opposition gives to ordinary representatives of the people as much importance as to members of the cabinet.

Mr. Macnaughton's personal qualities are well known by the members of the house, where he has friends only.

He showed impartiality-a sine qua non condition to hold the office of Speaker- when he presided over the deliberations of the public accounts committee, of which I had the honour to be a member.

Mr. Macnaughton is loyal, straightforward and honest. He will undoubtedly fill his post with dignity, as did his predecessors.

Therefore, Mr. Raymond, I am very happy to support his nomination and to wish him health and success in his new functions.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. ALAN A. MACNAUGHTON, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF MOUNT ROYAL
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SC

David Réal Caouette

Social Credit

Mr. Real Caouetle (Villeneuve):

Mr. Raymond, on behalf of the French speaking Social Credit members, I am happy to second the earlier statement of our leader, to the effect that we shall support Mr. Speaker in the discharge of his duties. We want to assure

him of our fullest co-operation, while stressing that we shall not try to elude our own responsibilities as representatives of the people.

It was mentioned earlier today that the rights of minorities in this house must be protected. We shall, indeed, demand justice for each and every member of the house.

We have not been elected to play politics, but for serious reasons of administration. National affairs are not the concern of a single group, but of the whole nation and its representatives. We must therefore stress the need of affirming a living democracy, which means the freedom of expressing our thoughts and ideas, and also full freedom so that each group in the house may raise its voice loudly and firmly in saying "Long live Canada; long live the two races which are the cornerstone of confederation, and long live all Canadians."

(Text):

The Clerk of the House declared the motion carried in the affirmative, nemine contra-dicente, and Alan A. Macnaughton, Esquire, member for the electoral district of Mount Royal, duly elected to the Chair of the house.

Mr. Macnaughton was conducted from his seat in the house to the Speaker's chair by Right Hon. L. B. Pearson and Hon. Lionel Chevrier.

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. ALAN A. MACNAUGHTON, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF MOUNT ROYAL
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?

Maurice Bourget (Speaker of the Senate)

Mr. Speaker:

Hon. members of the House of Commons, may I express to you my humble acknowledgement of the great honour which you have conferred upon me by choosing me to be your Speaker.

I wish to express my gratitude to the Prime Minister (Mr. Pearson) for his generous words in proposing my name. May I digress just for a moment and say to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Diefenbaker) that during the last five years while I was chairman of the standing committee on public accounts I appreciated very much-and I wish to testify in public to this fact-that at all times I had the active friendship and support which on more than one occasion was sorely needed. I wish to take this opportunity of thanking the right hon. gentleman publicly for his kind consideration and for his trust.

My thanks also go to the leaders of the Social Credit party and the New Democratic party for their most generous endorsations, and to the seconder of the motion, the Minister of Justice (Mr. Chevrier). I also appreciate very much the remarks of other hon. members. I hope I may be worthy of the high honour of this expression of your confidence.

It will be my duty to preserve the precious heritage of this historic chamber, to maintain decorum and order in debate and above all to exercise fairness and impartiality in

protecting the rights of every individual member. I ask for your patience and cooperation in our joint endeavours, and pray that I may be guided in fulfilling my duties in such a way that I may do justice to all hon. members and to this house whose servant I am.

(Translation):

Hon. members of the House of Commons, I thank you most sincerely for the honour you are conferring upon me and for the great token of esteem and confidence you are giving me. I must admit most humbly that I do not possess all the qualities that you were good enough to see in me. I shall strive nevertheless to act in all circumstances with the same dignity, firmness and fairness shown by my predecessors in the chair.

I shall always keep in mind that the fruits of freedom have matured, so to speak, with the help of tradition in the flowery garden of parliamentary procedure whose origin goes back to the Anglo-Norman monarchy. Inherited from our common ancestors, the duality of language and culture which proceeds naturally and normally from this tradition and this freedom is nowhere more evident than in the Canadian parliament. And furthermore, we must remember also that it is enshrined forever in our constitution.

As for the future, I sincerely hope that with your co-operation, I shall succeed in maintaining in this house the proprieties, rights and privileges that we have inherited from the past.

Hon. members of the House of Commons, I thank you once again from the very bottom of my heart.

(Text):

Topic:   ELECTION OF SPEAKER
Subtopic:   MR. ALAN A. MACNAUGHTON, MEMBER FOR THE ELECTORAL DISTRICT OF MOUNT ROYAL
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SITTING SUSPENDED

LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. B. Pearson (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, before making the suggestion which I wish to make I should like to congratulate you on your selection as Speaker of this house. I feel certain that you will conduct yourself in such a way as to strengthen the feeling of the desirability of permanence in the speakership to which the right hon. gentleman opposite referred this morning with such great approval, and which is a matter which can be discussed in the committee on procedure which I hope the house will be setting up without any delay. But I cannot hold out any hope to you for any move by this government which will exempt you from income tax, because of the terrific deficit which we have inherited from the last government.

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that the sitting be suspended until 3 p.m. this day.

Opening of the Session

Topic:   SITTING SUSPENDED
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May 16, 1963