May 20, 1963

?

An hon. Member:

That is right.

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Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Thompson:

This is not true. The real cause of the failure of the twenty fifth parliament was indecision and the lack of leadership given to that house of minorities by the government. I am not making these remarks to dig up the past, but what happened ought to be a lesson for the future to the present government. If the former government had laid a positive program before the house, if it had organized the business of the house so that we had a timetable and knew what we were expected to do, if it had arranged the business so that we could have had a budget, if it had simply clarified a defence policy that we could understand, then we would never have had the crisis that led to the failure of the last parliament. I would say that no one, the official opposition or any other minor party, could have ever stopped a positive program if that program had been put on wheels and got rolling.

This is the responsibility of the present government and this is what the people of Canada expect from the present government. The

CMr. Thompson.]

twenty fifth parliament fell simply because it did not live up to the responsibilities it had to the people who elected it, because we in this house did not live up to those responsibilities.

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An hon. Member:

You don't know what you are talking about.

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Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Thompson:

Yes, that is why the former government lost the last election.

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An hon. Member:

How did you do?

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Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Thompson:

There is a dividing of political paths taking shape in Canada today. This demands the existence of minor parties and this is why both of them increased their popular support.

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An hon. Member:

How did you do?

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Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Thompson:

Both of them increased their popular support. It is our duty then, major parties and minor parties if that is the way they are to be described, to put our shoulders to the wheel in this situation. We sincerely hope that this session will not be a continuation of what we had last time. Such conduct is out of line with public feeling. Our duty in this debate is conducting the public affairs of our nation, and it is the duty of each one of us, I think, is to stand firmly on the basis of the principles in which we believe and from this basis examine constructively and critically the program that is put before us by the government.

Several measures in the speech from the throne are good and they will have our unqualified support and approval as they are brought before us in legislative form. I am thinking particularly of the defence committee which during the last week or two of the campaign the leader of the Liberal party, now the Prime Minister, saw fit to include in his program; and I am grateful that he is taking immediate steps to set up such a defence committee. Some of the affairs of our nation are above partisan politics and certainly defence is one of them.

I also wish to congratulate the Prime Minister on what he said tonight with regard to the question of biculturalism. His remarks were objective and if we together can approach the problem, which I am convinced is one of the basic problems before us as Canadians, in the light of those remarks, then there is indeed hope for the future. It was also good to hear him speak of the responsibilities which he believes we have in the Caribbean. For a long time we have advocated that we should be carrying a greater load of responsibility with regard to the relationships of our friends and neighbours in this hemisphere and this does mean ultimate membership within the organization of American states. But right now, with the

changes that are taking place in the Caribbean, I am sure that all of us who know the area will agree that we must carry a greater degree of responsibility and oiler a larger helping hand to those islands which today are going through the throes of finding their own status as independent self-governing areas.

There are other parts of the speech from the throne that I will not take the time to discuss in detail tonight, ideas which, while they were conceived for a good purpose, will not, we believe, achieve their intended purposes without amendment. We wait expectantly to see what will be brought forth with respect to the proposed municipal development fund. In particular, we are concerned about the source and the cost to the taxpayer of the money that is to be made available to the municipalities. We believe that other measures in the speech from the throne are wrongly conceived and require us to oppose them. But our opposition will not be for opposition's sake. It will be based on the merits of any such measures from the standpoint of the principles towards which we believe a democratic government should be moving at this time.

As the hon. member for Northumberland (Miss Jewett) pointed out, there is need for setting out on a new path. Perhaps the path is not so new, perhaps it is just a shift of policy in the light of the changing time. However, I am quite sure that it will fail in its purpose if it means more government interference with the individual's liberty. Yes, action rightly adopted as a watchword is good, if this is what the plan of the government is.

It is gratifying that action has been taken on the three points that were the issue as parliament fell on February 5. I refer to the setting up of a committee to arrange for the work of this house; the pledge to embark immediately on a program or timetable, with the assurance that we are going to have an early budget. The national development program is something that is necessary. The throne speech does not make concrete proposals on any specific point. The question we wish to raise at this time is whether or not the approach that is going to be used is one that will bring us to a satisfactory conclusion.

The great complexity of our society makes the individual more dependant upon the community of which he is a part. However, that community also grows more dependent upon the individual as he becomes more highly specialized in his ability and training. This is something that should not be forgotten. We have witnessed, with a certain amount of pride, the successful return of the astronaut Cooper within these last few days. As we 28902-5-6

The Address-Mr. Thompson study all the preparations that took place, we realize that behind him there were thousands of people who made up the team which resulted in his 22 successful orbits of the earth. On the other hand, that team could never have worked as it did if it had not been for the individual who had control of the space capsule. We realized this as we heard that the automatic control from the land base failed to operate, and the astronaut had to take over. So it is, I think, in our society. This is as it should be. All economic progress comes from the division of labour, specialization and the exchange of ideas.

I am not pessimistic about Canada's future. Somehow I am confident that free men will work their way out of their present problems so that all men can be free. However, I do agree with the contemporary philosopher who not long ago gave us these words:

Corporate officialdoms are helpless and barren- the parties, bureaus, departments, cabinets, commissions, barren because of the inner cancellation of each other's certitudes. The composite program prudentially polished has every virtue in it but life.

This is what William Ernest Hocking said. It is very true. It is good that we remember this as we look at the problems with which we are faced.

It is well for us to remember that our monetary system has been the key to the organizational development of our society. We have passed through the stages of slavery, feudalism, yes, and compulsion. But what was it that brought us out of feudalism?

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An hon. Member:

Debt free money.

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Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Thompson:

Some of those who are making remarks would be more correct in displaying their intelligence by keeping quiet.

Money has been the key to the organization of society. Money makes economic democracy possible by making consumer choice the arbiter of economic direction. We can go back, if we so desire, to Great Britain during the 1500's when the renaissance was just developing, when the industrial revolution was beginning to take its embryonic form. Here, again, this development was preceded with a development for the facility of the medium of exchange in the monetary system which ultimately resulted in the present monetary system.

As we look for democracy, for a system of government, let us remember that economic democracy is at the root of democratic democracy. The one is not complete, and the one cannot survive unless it has the other. I am concerned because of the trend towards increased governmental control, increased taxation. This is actually an abandonment of our monetary system, an abridgement or

The Address-Mr. Thompson an attempted abridgement of economic democracy. It does not enlarge the human spirit, but abridges it instead. It does not enlarge human dignity. It subjects individuals to the indignity of government by bureaucracy. If it promotes equality, it is precisely at the expense of that precious individuality that has been the spark kindling the fire of western civilization. As the Austrian writer Heimito von Doderer said, contemplating the difference between east and west, that in the east, "individual life does not rebel. There is too little of it for rebellion. One soul mingles with the other like smoke. But in the west, every life has its own special, if invisible, garden plot. A man stands alone between the tended flower beds and the little porticos of a house from which no one, by law and equity, is entitled to expel him... This is the only way he knows how to be. Only in this way can he be big or little, crooked or straight, good or bad".

So, as we consider this new path let us remember the old fundamentals that are basic to the very way of life we mutually agree is the way we should live. Is the new path we are taking, then, a new path or is it an old one? Is it the collapse of economic democracy which is forcing us to take actions which are contrary to the basic principles under which we live? Perhaps this sounds strong, but look at the socialist governments behind the iron curtain. It is the logical confusion of bigger and bigger governments. Creative ideas have never sprung from groups, they spring from individuals. No committee has ever painted a piece of art. No board of directors has ever written a symphony. No commission has ever invented a scientific machine. In our awe of the power of the organization compared with that of the individual, let us not forget the complementary need of the organization, however complex, for the individual's vision, skill and ability. It is the contact between the aspired mind of the individual and his Creator that enables him to bring to others a glimpse of the infinite and the eternal that lie outside the view of ordinary men. This suppression of creativity carries with it the seeds of decay of every socialist state.

Now, the question that faces us in this parliament is a simple one. Are we to master the mighty economic and social machine that we have created, or is it to master us? Some 40 years ago the founder of the Social Credit movement, which has developed into the political party I have the privilege of leading, pointed out that the answer lies in the difference between yet one more retreat into the dark ages or the emergence into the full light of day of such splendor as we can at present only envisage dimly.

I am convinced that if we are to continue as a private enterprise system we cannot cure this problem by the direction of production as this government, in the speech from the throne, indicates it intends to do. We must see that the consumers have the incomes to create a big enough market to absorb the immense production of which we are now capable. Let us begin at the proper end. Let us begin with people and their needs for better food, clothing, housing and education. If their incomes were sufficient to buy the things they already want to have, and which we are capable of giving them, our problems of unemployment and poverty in the midst of abundance would be solved.

We are still faced with problems which plagued Canada 40 years ago. The reason is that the old line parties have refused, and are still refusing, to solve them by methods that are already more than 40 years old. In the speech from the throne we have a promise that matters of detail will be taken care of, but our basic, underlying economic problems will continue without change.

In spite of what the Leader of the Opposition has said about last year's prosperity, we can no longer tolerate the stagnation of the past six years. Therefore we have two choices. We either make our financial system work- and there are perfectly simple reasons for its not working at the present time-

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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order. I regret I must interrupt the hon. gentleman but his time has expired.

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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Secretary of State of Canada; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

Mr. Speaker, I am sure no hon. member would wish to deny the hon. gentleman the opportunity of completing his speech.

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Lucien Lamoureux (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Has the hon. gentleman the unanimous consent of the house to continue?

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Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

Mr. Thompson:

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have only a few more remarks to add. Either we make our financial system work-and there are perfectly simple reasons why it is not working at the present time- so that we can give the poor and needy those things we have in abundance about us, or we abandon the use of money altogether and with it the economic basis of democracy in place of a completely planned economy. Every step that increases our taxes takes away our power of choice, takes us away from the free market and economic democracy which I believe we must have.

In considering the legislation which will be placed before us, instead of trying to badger each other back and forth as political parties, it is far more important that we get down to

the basic fundamentals that will let us work together. Let us remember that in our parliament, complex as it is, the individual member must have preserved those rights that will give him the freedom to use the initiative and the enterprise which his Creator has given him.

Parliament, in my opinion, needs to do these things. We must through the Bank of Canada take charge of the credit supply of our nation. We already control the legal tender within our monetary system. Is it such an absurd thing that we should take charge of our credit as well? I think not. Reference has been made here tonight to debt free money. The fact is that because we have not taken charge of our credit-not as a government but as parliament itself-we have failed to give to our economy the necessary monetary bloodstream it needs.

I was interested to read the April 12 edition of the Winnipeg Tribune in which Professor C. L. Barber of the University of Manitoba was reported as saying:

The Canadian economy has been trying to operate with an insufficient money supply for the past five years and needs creation of $1 billion to function successfully.

Since it costs very little to create additional money, we are very foolish to try to get along with too small a stock of it.

A growing economy needs a growing supply of money . . . the supply is barely keeping pace with the growth of the gross national product. There's nothing being done to make up our $1 billion deficit.

The extra money in the economy would raise stock and bond prices and reduce interest rates, and might stimulate the rate of capital spending. The extra money would more likely be invested in Canadian enterprises than be spent on new cars and other consumer goods.

The result of the money supply shortage has been the highest interest rates since the first world war.

Canadians now expect "a great deal" from government . . .

They (governments) are expected to take an underlying responsibility for the successful functioning of our economy-and properly so.

Yet, I suspect few of us realize how much our standards of expected government performance have risen over the past decade or more.

He went on to explain how this would work. So, these things which far too many members of the house tend to laugh and jeer at, are things which people who are closer to an understanding of the function of our economy are thinking about. Since it costs very little and since the basic reforms that would be involved here are not major, it would not take long before our economy could produce the things that we agree are the desirable objectives.

France, Germany and Japan, during the years since the last war, have steadily increased their money supply and the growth 28902-5-6i

The Address-Mr. Thompson of their gross national product. Their economies have expanded; they do not have unemployment today. Is it immoral to do the same thing here? The answer is not higher debt and higher tax burdens.

The government can be assured, in the light of this approach, of our co-operation in this parliament as we agree that something must be done, but we give notice to the government that we are afraid it is on a fundamentally wrong track in preferring physical control to financial reform in trying to make our economic system bring prosperity to all. I am alarmed at the possible consequences that might result to individual rights and freedom in a private enterprise economy.

This is no blank cheque for support, but it is an earnest appeal to each one of us to work together to make this session a responsible session in the eyes of the people who elected us. We can prove to the people of Canada that we are responsible representatives only by acting like responsible people. Frontbencher or backbencher, cabinet ministers or opposition, it does not matter where we sit. This is the challenge that is before us now. I hope each member will take the now. I hope each member will take the opportunity of participating in this debate as I do not think any one has all the answers to the questions that are involved. However as we participate and share this responsibility we will achieve that which the country expects from us and which it needs in order that it can continue to develop and move forward.

This is now just four years before the centennial of our confederation. These are four very vital years. Whether or not we are able to hold Canada together as a nation remains to be seen. I think we will find the answer before 1967. I do not think there has ever been so important or critical a period in the history of our nation, as it has existed as a nation, as we face standing on the threshold right now. Therefore I trust-and I am confident we will do this-that each one of us will be carefully thinking of our responsibilities in this over-all picture and will be playing our own parts in moving forward to make Canada the nation that I want Canada to be, that all of us want Canada to be, that Canada must be if she is to stand, and a nation such as the world must have.

We in Canada are actually a miniature world. It is true that we are only 19 million people. We came together as two founding nations 200 years ago, and into our midst have come a multitude of other nationals from other parts of the world. We came into being almost in spite of the laws of economics and the reasoning of men that such a nation could survive. In fact it is a miracle that

The Address-Mr. Douglas Canada has survived to this point. But what hope have we of staying together as a peaceful world, of developing the human and material resources of this world, if we in Canada cannot work out our own problems? That is why I think our responsibility goes much further afield than this house or this nation. It reaches across the world. If we cannot do this, what hope have men and women as individuals who deserve the assurance of those things which they need in order to live, and who at the same time desire the freedom which will help them reach their objective in the world.

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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

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

Mr. Speaker, may I offer you my congratulations and felicitations on the high office to which you have been elected by your peers. I notice that the Sergeant-at-Arms has been placed cheek by jowl beside the hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Herridge) and myself. I hope this is not an indication that Your Honour fears trouble from this corner. I can assure you that we will be models of decorum.

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NDP

Herbert Wilfred Herridge

New Democratic Party

Mr. Herridge:

We are peaceful people.

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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

I should also like to extend my congratulations to the mover and seconder of the address in reply to the speech from the throne, the gracious hon. member for Northumberland (Miss Jewett) and the very able hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Choquette). These two hon. members made as fine maiden speeches as I have ever heard.

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Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

I am sure they brought honour to themselves, their constituents and their party. As a matter of fact, when I heard the hon. member for Northumberland extolling the beauty and charm of her constituency I thought that her constituents could argue with equal force about the beauty and charm of their member.

I should also like to extend my congratulations to the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Pearson) and his colleagues on having earned the right to be invited to form a government. When I look at the cabinet, with some notable exceptions it seems to me like an old timers reunion of the Liberal party. Most of the cabinet is made up of members of the former Liberal administration, along with former civil servants and economic advisers to the St. Laurent government. But I want to compliment them on the efficiency which they have already displayed in the dispatch of business, and to express the hope that they will not have competence without compassion, that we will not see efficiency without vision,

the kind of vision that we need in the situation in which Canada finds itself at the present time.

Mr. Speaker, I think the one fact which is paramount is that the people of Canada want this to be a parliament that gets things done. This country is beset by deep rooted problems and there is little to be gained from arguing as to whose responsibility it is for these problems. There is nothing to be gained by mutual recriminations from both sides of the house. The child is on our doorstep; there is little value in arguing about who has the paternal responsibility. We all have a responsibility at this time to meet the situation which confronts us. The opposition parties, in my view, have a responsibility to refrain from all forms of frivolous obstruction and to give the government a chance to bring down its program for economic recovery.

I submit, on the other hand, that the government has a responsibility to tackle the problems which confront it with dispatch and to refrain from making any major policy decisions without reference to parliament. I think the people of Canada as a whole want a respite from elections; but the onus for that lies on both sides of the house. The members of the New Democratic party in this house are prepared to give the government a chance to carry out its domestic program for economic recovery, but on the other hand we expect the government to consult parliament rather than treating it with contempt. We can have in this country a period of stable government only if there is a degree, a high degree, of co-operation from all parties in this house.

Mr. Speaker, may I now say a word about the speech from the throne. This is a document of lights and shadows. Some of the proposals could prove very beneficial. I refer to the municipal development and loan board, the department of industry and the area development agency which will be created within that department, the Canada development corporation, the economic council and the contributory pension plan, all of which are mentioned in the speech from the throne. The value of these measures will depend on the terms of the legislation and whether these proposals are part of a planned assault upon our economic problems or merely a hit and miss set of proposals attempting to patch up a creaking economy.

We in the New Democratic party do not believe that this government, any more than its predecessor, is prepared to undertake the fundamental changes or adopt the far reaching policies which are necessary to make our economy function satisfactorily. May I just

give two brief illustrations. Mention was made today of the rate of economic growth. The rate of economic growth is not like a hockey score; it is not an end in itself. Increased growth is only meaningful if it contributes to the two vital goals of full employment and a higher standard of living for all Canadians. The year 1962 demonstrated that we can have an increase in the gross national product without a corresponding increase in employment. The increase in that year was largely in the extraction industries which do not have a high employment ratio. Consequently, we had an increase in the gross national product but there was no corresponding decline in unemployment.

May I put forward another illustration-the matter of investment funds with which some of this legislation is concerned? Increased investment funds alone are not a solution. Over the period when investment was declining, business savings in Canada actually increased by 4 per cent. If the problem had been a lack of funds, surely the business community would have dipped into its reserves. Last year, in constant dollars, business investment increased by 4.8 per cent but in the same period gross business savings increased by 7.1 per cent. It is therefore apparent that the business community felt that present plant and machinery were adequate to meet the current demand for goods and services.

The great lack, is not just in terms of economic growth, is not just in terms of funds for investment-though these are important factors in our economy-it is the inability of large sections of our population to buy the goods and services which our economy is capable of producing. It is estimated that there is a gap of some $2.5 billions between what our economy is capable of producing and what the people of this country are able to buy. That is why we in this group have constantly advocated two measures, the first of which is that there must be massive doses of social capital injected into the economy. To my mind this is where the speech from the throne falls down. The municipal development and loan board will be some help in giving social capital to the municipalities, but what we need in addition are large scale public works by both federal and provincial governments. We need home construction on a gigantic scale. The unemployed should not be asked to wait until the effects of long run measures have found jobs for them. There are things which could be done now and things which must be done now if unemployed people are to be put to work.

The second thing we advocate is an increase in social security measures as one of the means of distributing purchasing power. Social security measures are not a luxury to

The Address-Mr. Douglas be enjoyed after economic recovery. They are an integral and indispensable part of economic recovery. During the election campaign the Prime Minister spoke of welfare measures and health measures taking second place to economic recovery. We believe there can be no effective economic recovery or economic stability until purchasing power is restored to those sections of our population which have only a limited capacity to consume. An increased effective demand on the part of the lower and middle income groups is indispensable to economic growth and a full employment economy. If the government continues to retain the idea of getting ever closer to a balanced budget as the pivot of its economic policy it will not be able to do either of these two things. The government is facing a dilemma. If it carries out its preelection talk about a balanced budget it will not be able to provide the social capital or the welfare measures necessary for economic recovery. It will have to make up its mind in the course of this and the other sessions of the present parliament whether it intends to adopt modern economic policies or whether it is going to worship the golden calf of a balanced budget. Today, a balanced budget is not essential. The essential thing is to balance consumption and production.

May I briefly mention some of the omissions from the speech from the throne? I have already noted that there is no reference to a short run program for providing jobs. There are in the neighbourhood of half a million persons unemployed in this country who are looking to this parliament to provide jobs. There is nothing in the speech from the throne which gives immediate hope that these jobs will be forthcoming in the months ahead.

There is no mention in the speech from the throne of a comprehensive health insurance program. I can recall in my own constituency of Burnaby-Coquitlam the Liberal candidate, Mr. Tom Kent, saying that the New Democratic party promised to pay 60 per cent of the cost to any province which would establish a comprehensive medicare program but that a Liberal government would not wait for the provinces to act but would bring in a medicare program of its own. In a television debate in which he and I participated he said this would be done in the first 60 days. It is true there was a slip of the tongue; he said "in the first 60 years" but he quickly corrected himself. Some people suspected that the Freudian slip was more accurate than the correction. However, the people of Canada will want to know during the course of this debate whether or not the government is serious about the medicare program promised in the course of the election campaign.

The Address-Mr. Douglas

There is no mention in the speech of a two price system for wheat guaranteeting the farmers $2 a bushel for the wheat they deliver. Today, when I sought an answer to that question, the Prime Minister said it was a matter of government policy which would be announced in due course. The fact remains that the Prime Minister made this promise definitely to the people of western Canada. The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix on March 7 carried a full banner headline quoting him as saying that the Liberal party was pledged to a two price system and a $2 guaranteed price. Certainly I hope the Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Hays) or the Minister of Trade and Commerce (Mr. Sharp) will make a statement on the subject during the course of this debate.

There is no mention of the 10,000 scholarships of $1,000 each of which the Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources (Mr. Laing) spoke in an article which appeared in the Toronto Star on May 1, and there is no statement on the pressing problem of railway line abandonment which is causing so much concern to the people of the prairies. I recall that only a few months ago the Liberal members, when they sat on this side of the house, were screaming for action. But the speech from the throne is as silent as the tomb about what the government intends to do concerning this large scale railway line abandonment being planned by the two major railway companies in Canada which will mean the uprooting of three or four thousand miles of railway line with all that this implies for the people who live in the communities affected and the farms which produce in those areas.

It is my intention to move a subamendment to the speech from the throne but I do not want to start on that before tomorrow, if that

would meet the pleasure of the house. If I have the consent of the house, I should like to move that the debate be adjourned and to call it ten o'clock.

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May 20, 1963