Mr. Remi Paul (Berthier-Maskinonge-Dela-naudiere):
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege to make a statement which might be of interest to all members of the house, especially my colleagues of Her Majesty's loyal opposition, and more particularly to the electors of my constituency of Berthier-Maskinonge-Dela-naudiere.
The moment I entered public life I stated that I wanted to be a member of the Conservative party as long as its policy was in keeping with the interests of my electors and likely to promote the development of the Canadian nation in the complete respect of the aspirations of one and all, even and especially if those aspirations concerned my French speaking compatriots, so that Canadians could live in that essential national unity which all men in public life must strive to establish and maintain.
In the past two months I have received quite clear and precise directives, with but a few exceptions, from many electors in my riding whom I met while the house was in recess, to the effect that I should dissociate myself from the present policy of the Conservative party.
I have every confidence in the Conservative party, one of the two great political parties which have left their mark on the life of the Canadian nation, and I refrain to enumerate all the achievements of this great political party which, at various times, legislated in the interest of the whole Canadian people.
Unfortunately that party is now controlled and directed by a single man. I therefore regret that I must leave the ranks, not of the Conservative party but of the Diefen-baker party. As of this day I shall sit in this house as an independent member, and shall continue to do so until the problem of the
leadership of the Conservative party has been solved satisfactorily. The solution of this problem will of necessity bring about a new trend in the policy of this party, which will be called upon to again play a leading role in Canadian history.
I want to be absolutely clear and well understood when I publicly state that I understand and approve the stand taken by the energetic leader of the Quebec wing of the Conservative party, the hon. member for Three Rivers (Mr. Balcer) and by the hon. member for Pontiac-Temiscamingue (Mr. Martineau) and all my colleagues from Quebec. By different means I wish to continue to work with them and with the many other Conservative members and friends toward a renovation of the structure of the party so as to give it a new life and to create again public confidence in the party by the choice of a new platform acceptable to all classes and consistent with the needs of the day and the aspirations of the people of Canada and of the province of Quebec.
I am sorry to leave my friends in the Conservative party but I feel that I am being faithful to my mandate and to the wishes of the electors of the great riding of Berthier-Maskinonge-Delanaudiere.
I sincerely hope that this separation will be a short one because I remain a strong supporter of the great Conservative party, although strongly against the Diefenbaker party, and I am hoping to become once again an active member of the Conservative party in the near future.
Mr. Speaker, I therefore request the privilege to sit elsewhere in this house.
Subtopic: MR. PAUL-DECISION TO SIT AS INDEPENDENT MEMBER