Right Hon. L. B. Pearson (Prime Minister):
Mr. Speaker, I indicated the other day to hon. members that today I would be in a position to make a statement about government business. In this statement I intend to indicate, Mr. Speaker, what items of business the government hopes to get completed before the house can give consideration to the possibility of a summer recess. The list I have to give is somewhat long, but I hope we can make progress with these measures in the house in a way which would enable us to have a summer vacation somewhat longer than the present week end.
First there is consideration to be given to the estimates. It is certainly not reasonable
Business of the House to try to finish consideration of the estimates before any summer recess, but it would be very undesirable, of course, to have a number of departments waiting until the autumn when half the financial year would have been completed. Motions to go into supply will be made as is appropriate for bringing forward the estimates, and I expect that this will mean one more such motion before summer. Interim supply will, of course, be asked for in the ordinary way. Also in the financial field the government gives high priority to the amendments to the Income Tax Act implementing the budget proposals.
I am hopeful, indeed I expect, that we will soon be able to introduce a motion for an address to the Queen for an amendment to section 94A of the British North America Act in order to provide for supplementary benefits to widows and orphans in our pensions legislation. Legislation itself cannot be introduced until this constitutional amendment has been made. We also hope that it will be possible to take the preliminary stages of the legislation-that is the pension legislation-before summer so the bill will then be available for public discussion and for the special committee which will be set up.
We hope that amendment of the National Defence Act will be completed in this house after consideration by the committee. The bill on the law of the sea dealing with the 12 mile fishing limit is another with which we should like to make early progress; also, of course, the bank charter extension act. Then there is the legislation on the extension of family allowances and on the revisions of the federal-provincial fiscal arrangements which have already been announced. One of the early measures to be proceeded with will be the amendments to the National Housing Act which have been on the order paper now for some time. The resolution relating to the Columbia river treaty is one that it is essential to decide on before the autumn.
Next, Mr. Speaker, I would refer to a group of measures relating to agriculture. The resolution on increasing the volume of farm credit is on the order paper. We also wish to bring forward legislation on farm improvement loans; we want to establish the department of forestry and rural development, and to improve federal provisions regarding crop insurance.
The resolution in my name relating to periodical publications is another important measure that we hope to proceed with as soon as possible. Legislation relating to retirement from the Senate is waiting. And I must remind hon. members that this house
Business of the House is in a real sense in default of its duties if we fail to set in motion the redistribution that is now long overdue, in accordance with the census which is now three years old. The government will return to this legislation, it is hoped, as soon as ever we have any reason to hope that in doing so we will not delay for a long time other important legislation.
Other measures which we regard as of priority importance are the legislation for a minimum wage and other labour standards; the legislation to provide student loans, and the amendment of the Railway Act. This last Railway Act amendment is too complex a measure for us to expect to complete it before the autumn, but we would at least hope to have it, like the pension bill, ready for the committee stage before then. We also hope to proceed with two other railway matters; the C.N.R. financing bill, which is an annual one, and a measure on the capitalization of the C.N.R.
Three measures already on the order paper are the extension of export credits, important to our expanding trade; the amendment of the Post Office Act; and the amendment of the Merchant Seamen Compensation Act. the government is also anxious to proceed with the amendment of the citizenship act to ensure equality of status for all citizens. In the field of administration we attach great importance to the reconstitution of the treasury board as a separate department of government with more broadly defined and modernized functions.
In addition we have waiting several more routine but important measures. We wish to ratify I.L.O. convention No. Ill dealing with discrimination in employment, and the Geneva convention of 1949 for the protection of war victims. Then there is legislation to establish the Roosevelt-Campobello international park; the harbour commissions legislation; amendments to the Companies Act; the revised statutes bill; revision of the Interpretation Act; the Quebec bridge bill; and the Canada Shipping Act.
Mr. Speaker, this pre-summer list is not necessarily in the order in which the legislation in question will be introduced into parliament. The business for as many days ahead as is possible will be announced at the end of each day in the customary way and will be determined in the ordinary way by circumstances. But this list does give a priority importance to the present legislative program and an indication generally of the way in which the government would like to proceed and the progress we hope to make before
summer. Any later proposals to the house for a summer recess will be made, naturally, in the light of that progress which we are able to make. We have to act, of course, with a certain degree of flexibility according to changing circumstances, and the most important of these circumstances that we cannot altogether foresee is the rate at which debate in the house will proceed.
There is one other observation, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make. Circumstances or developments may make it necessary or desirable to add to the list I have given, and the additions may require priority over existing items either now on the order paper or on the list I have given.
I think, Mr. Speaker, that what I just said will give the house a pretty definite idea of the work before it. I know we are all anxious to get ahead with that work as quickly and as effectively as possible. The government pledges its co-operation with opposition parties to that end, and I am confident that, subject always to their duty and obligation as an opposition, those parties will give the same co-operation.
Subtopic: MEASURES TO BE CONSIDERED BEFORE SUMMER RECESS