May 15, 1964

LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

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.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MEASURES TO BE CONSIDERED BEFORE SUMMER RECESS
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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. Speaker, with the concluding paragraph of the statement read by the Prime Minister the opposition is, of course, in full agreement. The discharge of its responsibilities will be a consideration always before it, while desiring at all times to expedite the business of the house.

The list that has been given by the Prime Minister is of such a length-I have said this before and I repeat-that it would give parliament an idea of the meaning of eternity. Indeed, as I look over the order paper I find that after 64 days all that the government has on the order paper are the following items, and I think they should be referred to: the electoral boundaries commission measure, which has been before the house for some time; the bill to amend the Income Tax Act, which is also in the same position, of course; the bill respecting the Revised Statutes of Canada, which I am sure will not take much time at all; the measure concerning a comprehensive program of old age pensions which will not come before us, of course, until after the amendment to the constitution. This measure involves not only the original plan but twice revised versions. The government has not been able to make up its mind on that matter until very recently. The harbour commission bill is not a matter that will take much time. Then

there is the resolution regarding the Merchant Seamen Compensation Act and another resolution concerning the Aeronautics Act. As I recall there was no reference to them, although the Prime Minister may have said that all matters on the order paper will receive attention. Then there is the resolution to set up a joint committee on the pension plan. There are also amendments to the Bank Act and amendments to the National Housing Act, which are of great importance, of course. There is also a measure respecting the postal rates on periodicals. It has been before the house and strong feelings have been expressed by various members. Then there is a measure to amend the Export Credits Insurance Act. This matter will receive immediate support from the house generally in that it simply represents an expansion of the policies which we introduced. The extension and expansion of the Farm Credit Act is another matter that I am sure will not take long. Finally there is the very large and important matter involving recommendations of the royal commission on transportation.

I mention these matters because when you look at the order paper you see that there is very little on it. Before the government can expect parliament to act it has to make up its own mind, and it has not been able to do so in regard to several questions. There is one, for instance, about which I am not going to say more at the moment. However, the press today contains information, apparently leaked, regarding the flag question. According to the press this matter is going to receive the attention of parliament before the 1st of July. This is a matter of significance, and it is timely for me to mention it today because the press contains lengthy statements in this regard.

All of us are desirous of doing everything we can to expedite the business of the house, and we have done so by agreeing in the last few days to a reduction by one in the number of supply motions. That is a very material concession for us to make. We are most desirous of getting ahead, but the government must first get things on the order paper before they can be considered by parliament. That should be made clear and definite, and 1 want to emphasize that at this time.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MEASURES TO BE CONSIDERED BEFORE SUMMER RECESS
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

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

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has outlined a very formidable list of legislation. As a matter of fact I think more legislation was announced this morning than was contained

Business of the House in the speech from the throne. But if this is legislation which must be dealt with by the summer recess, then I think members of the house must tackle this problem. I think all of us in the opposition have a responsibility, and the government also has a responsibility. One of the ways in which the government can discharge its responsibility is to get some of this legislation on the order paper so that members will have an opportunity to study it. We have had no opportunity to see or examine most of the legislation announced by the Prime Minister this morning, and it seems to me it would expedite the work of the house a good deal if legislation were placed on the order paper at a much earlier time.

I suggest that some thought should be given by the house leaders of the various parties to the allocation of the time for the various items which are to come before us. If we are going to cover this very heavy agenda it can only be done adequately if there is some allocation of time in regard to the respective legislative matters. If some agreement could be reached to set a limit on debate at various stages I think this would help to expedite matters a great deal.

We in this party have been advocating for a long time that in view of the heavy agenda which parliament now has we should abolish the resolution stage altogether and allow legislation to come in by having a bill introduced. This would give members an opportunity to study the bill in plenty of time for a full debate on second reading and in committee of the whole. I hope the committee on procedure will give some thought to this and make a recommendation to the house soon in this regard. If we are going to get this amount of work done at this and succeeding sessions I think we are going to have to say goodbye to the slow process of having an additional debate on resolutions preceding the introduction of legislation.

The press has been speaking of legislation regarding a flag. The Prime Minister did not mention that this morning, but he did say there was other legislation which might take priority over what he had announced. It does not make it very easy to plan the work of the house if at any time other legislation which we have not even seen or heard about can be given a higher priority. While we in this party are interested in having a distinctive national flag for Canada, I want to say that we think it is much more important that we give to this country a sense of purpose and an economic climate over which

Business of the House we will be proud to have a flag fly. Instead of the government using a great deal of energy worrying about a flag, we hope that first of all they will deal with some of the important items of legislation which have been announced by the Prime Minister rather than spending, as we undoubtedly would, a week or two debating a flag, which is something that can quite easily be postponed until later this session or to next session.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MEASURES TO BE CONSIDERED BEFORE SUMMER RECESS
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SC

Robert Norman Thompson

Social Credit

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

Mr. Speaker, the amount of legislation that has been outlined to us by the Prime Minister hardly justifies making a statement of any length at this time. However, I support some of the remarks that have just been made by the hon. member for Burnaby-Coquitlam with regard to bringing into play procedures which will speed up the business of the house. I trust that the special committee on procedure will take the amount of business before us as a very special reason for placing their suggestions before the house soon, and I hope we will all take the hint and give them the support they need to bring in such measures, at least on a trial basis.

Without in any way taking away from the importance of other measures, I would remind the Prime Minister that there are a few very basic and important items which he announced that must be taken care of in the immediate future. One of these is the extension of the bank charters. If we do not get the legislation passed by June 30, the banks of the country will close their doors on July 2. The Columbia river treaty likewise is something we must get through before the recess. There are the supply motions as well, and the importance of redistribution calls for early action. I would remind the Prime Minister also that there is another piece of legislation about which there has been a great deal of discussion and which has been on the order paper. I refer to the legislation regarding publications. The situation as it is developing can hardly continue and we must, therefore, face this thing clearly and act quickly.

So far as we are concerned in this party, we will give complete, constructive co-operation to the other groups in this house to work out the very best way of speeding up the work in the house. Certainly, whether or not we agree that all these things can be done before the summer recess, it does point out to us that there is a real job to be done, and the only way it will be done is to get down and do it.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MEASURES TO BE CONSIDERED BEFORE SUMMER RECESS
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RA

Gilles Grégoire

Ralliement Créditiste

Mr. Gilles Gregoire (Lapointe):

Mr. Speaker, we are quite happy, in this corner of the house, to see that the government introduces enough business for parliament to justify its role and pass the legislation which may be necessary for the welfare of the country.

It is quite clear that during the discussions on such legislation, there will not always be complete agreement. There will be discussions and that is the role of the opposition.

As far as we are concerned, we intend to be as constructive as possible in our criticism, to bring forward suggestions and solutions which could help to deal with Canadian problems if they were taken into serious consideration by the government.

As far as we are concerned, if that legislation has to be passed, we are prepared to extend the hours of sitting of the house and accept longer sittings in the morning and evening. We are ready to sit as long as is necessary, until July, August or September. But, one sure thing is that the Canadian people expect action from parliament.

Today, the right hon. Prime Minister (Mr. Pearson) gave us a list which may seem quite long and substantial. But I think the time has come to present the lists of legislation, to introduce the measures themselves so that they can be passed, especially if they deal with the welfare of the Canadian people.

Unfortunately, practically no legislation has been completed since the beginning of this session. There was, of course, a bill introduced by the hon. member for St. Maurice-Lafleche (Mr. Chretien) to change the name of Trans-Canada Air Lines, and another short bill. We feel that, half the session being over, it is high time that the house should get down to business. If the hours of sittings are too short, let us lengthen them; if we have to sit by shifts, let us do that, but let us get on with our work.

We have been discussing the establishment of a pension plan but at the rate we are going it will never be passed. We are to consider legislative amendments concerning Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation and agriculture. We are supposed to set up a department of rural development-indeed we have been considering that for two years here-or a department of agriculture for eastern Canada, call it whatever you wish, it is the same thing.

Mr. Speaker, we feel that this has to be brought to a conclusion eventually and we are ready to work as long as necessary in co-operation with the other members of the house.

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MEASURES TO BE CONSIDERED BEFORE SUMMER RECESS
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NDP

Robert William Prittie

New Democratic Party

Mr. R. W. Prittie (Burnaby-Richmond):

should like to ask the Prime Minister a question concerning the list of work he gave us this morning. I wonder if the right hon. gentleman could give us another statement outlining what parliament will have to do after the summer recess.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MEASURES TO BE CONSIDERED BEFORE SUMMER RECESS
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

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

Yes. There will be an equally long list of very important proposals, including the revision of the Bank Act.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MEASURES TO BE CONSIDERED BEFORE SUMMER RECESS
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EXTERNAL AFFAIRS

LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

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

I should like to table, as promised, the statement made by the Secretary of State for External Affairs to the NATO council at The Hague. This is the statement with only one or two small omissions. These omissions relate only to the foreign policy of other members and foreign personalities of the council. There are no omissions in the section concerning far eastern policy.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF STATEMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER TO NATO COUNCIL
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

These were just interpolations while he was speaking?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF STATEMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER TO NATO COUNCIL
Permalink
LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Yes.

[Later:~\

On the orders of the day:

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF STATEMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER TO NATO COUNCIL
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

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

wish to address a question to the Prime Minister regarding a statement made by the Secretary of State for External Affairs at the NATO meeting, when he said:

While we have no intention in Canada of doing anything which would add to the difficulties of our friends, the realities of the situation nevertheless may require some modification of our position following the 19th session of the United Nations.

I should like to ask the Prime Minister what modifications the government has in mind with reference to our relationship with mainland China.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF STATEMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER TO NATO COUNCIL
Permalink
LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

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

I think 1 ought to permit the Secretary of State for External Affairs to interpret his own statement; he will be here on Tuesday. One thing he might have in mind when he talks about the realities of the situation is that there is the possibility, at least, of a vote 20220-210

Proposed, Legislation

favourable to the seating of mainland China at the United Nations irrespective of Canada's stand on that issue.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF STATEMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER TO NATO COUNCIL
Permalink
NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

I was aware of the realities of the situation. It was the phrase "some modification of our position" which interested me. I take this to mean a modification of Canada's position vis-a-vis mainland China. I assume the Prime Minister was consulted before this statement was made, and I wonder if he could indicate to us what modification in our policy there would be.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF STATEMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER TO NATO COUNCIL
Permalink
LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

If there was a vote, in favour of transferring a seat at the United Nations to the Peking government, then the Canadian government and other governments would have to make up their minds whether or not to recognize the consequences of that change.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Sub-subtopic:   TABLING OF STATEMENT OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS MINISTER TO NATO COUNCIL
Permalink

BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT

PROVISION FOR RECOGNITION AS CONSTITUTION OF CANADA

NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre) moved

for leave to introduce Bill No. C-97, to provide for the British North America Act to be known also as the constitution of Canada.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RECOGNITION AS CONSTITUTION OF CANADA
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Explain.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RECOGNITION AS CONSTITUTION OF CANADA
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader; Whip of the N.D.P.)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles:

The purpose of this bill, Mr. Speaker, is to make it legal, so far as parliament can provide, to call our constitution either the constitution of Canada or the British North America Act. It does this by providing that in the parliament of Canada or in any of our courts, our constitution may be referred to as the constitution of Canada. This would facilitate the widest possible use of this more appropriate title pending the day when the constitution of Canada might be our own document in every sense.

If the house and the government would like to facilitate early enactment of this bill so that the pending amendment regarding certain aspects of the Canada pension plan might be an amendment to the constitution of Canada, I would be quite willing for this to be done.

Motion agreed to and bill read the first time.

Topic:   BRITISH NORTH AMERICA ACT
Subtopic:   PROVISION FOR RECOGNITION AS CONSTITUTION OF CANADA
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May 15, 1964