Mr. Chairman, I do not deny the fact just referred to by the hon. member. I do not dispute it. It may be true. But with those I have met from Toronto yesterday, it was not a question of finding out whether they were Conservatives or Liberals or Social
April 19, 1967
Crediters. Not at all. But we did discuss this debate and everybody found it horrible.
And the Conservatives are responsible for it because we have been ready to vote on this bill for two weeks now. If the bill is defeated, all right then, it will be defeated; if not, then it will pass.
It seems to me that under our democratic system we should at least have the privilege of taking a stand by voting in the house. The Conservatives are free to vote against Bill No. C-243. But as it is, they are preventing the house from voting on this matter, by going on with this marathon of speeches.
I sincerely think that I am now giving to Canada as a whole a true image of what is going on in parliament. This debate is disgusting to the people, costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to taxpayers and settles absolutely nothing. If the unification of the forces does not answer the purpose in ten years, it will still be time to change something.
We are neither angels nor saints. Legislation passed today can be amended in a year if it is not effective then.
The Canadian army is not now what it was in 1914-18. The means to fight are not the same as those which were used then. Everything has changed since 1914, even since the 1939-45 war. Weapons are not the same, means are not the same, systems of communication are not the same. Everything has changed, everything has evolved. Only the Conservatives are not following the times. They remain firmly seated in their place. They keep their conservatism: Let us keep outworn doctrines, obsolete methods, let us stand still; Let us show some stability. And what is the meaning of stability? To move neither forward not backward, but to remain always at the same place? But this is exactly what the Conservatives are doing at the present time.
The hon. member is making fun of Canadians, he is showing a complete lack of concern for the Canadian taxpayer in trying to prolong the debate. Tomorrow he will shout "closure" when a motion is brought in to put an end to the debate.
Mr. Chairman, we are going to accept that closure, to muzzle those irresponsible members of the house. We are certainly going to vote in favour of it.
In view of the really grave problem that the hon. member raised yesterday concerning the dairy industry, and the opportunity that was afforded the government to debate the matter in the house yesterday, was it not the fault of the government that we continued on the unification bill? Second, does the hon. member not realize that the Liberals, whom he so slavishly supports on every occasion, do not really want his assistance; otherwise they would have permitted the debate on the dairy industry yesterday?
Mr. Chairman, as for the first part of the question asked by the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre, I will say he is right. Yesterday, I believe, the Liberals dodged their responsibilities and I charge those of the province of Quebec-I can see some there-who were too scared yesterday, and it is very much in order to say this, to get up and stand for the farmers, for the milk producers of Canada. This I will repeat throughout the whole province of Quebec, and in any case the whole province knows about it.
I make an exception for those from Montreal who never saw a cow being milked in their lives and do not understand the dairy industry situation, but the others from the province of Quebec are responsible if the government's dairy policy is not more generous.
The second part of the question is to the effect that we have an understanding with the Liberals, to support them or to have them support us on another occasion; there is no question of that and there will never be any question of that. And the hon. member is very well aware that we have voted more often with his group against the government than for the government since 1962. It is a fact. We are not bound to the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre or to the Liberal members. The Liberal members from Quebec know that we are not bound to them. We are free. We can say whatever we like and we can vote as we see fit. But we want to vote in the best interests of the Canadian people.
April 19, 1967
National Defence Act Amendment
As far as the change proposed in Bill No. C-243 is concerned, I think it cannot be effected overnight. It will take ten or 15 years perhaps before unification can be accomplished. But I am pretty sure that at that time, the cost of national defence for the country as a whole will be less than it is at present. We shall then be able to take out of the billions saved through unification certain amounts that we could appropriate to agriculture, to our domestic expansion, to the development of our natural resources.
Then, as I say, we will have helped every class of our Canadian society, every Canadian, regardless of political consideration. I am convinced of that.
That is why we, of the Ralliement Credi-tiste, have decided to vote in favour of Bill No. C-243. There are no other reasons. It is not for the reason suggested by the hon. member, to the effect that the Liberals opposed the debate yesterday, though it is true that they did oppose it.
Had the ministers, had the Minister of Transport (Mr. Pickersgill) suggested yesterday that we should debate the matter of the Canadian dairy industry, Mr. Chairman, we would probably be still at it today, had the house given unanimous consent. But no, there is no wish to-
Mr. Chairman, I rise on a question of privilege. I believe that the hon. member has no right to speak as he is doing at present, because we are quite familiar with standing orders on this side of the house and we knew that the motion introduced yesterday would be lost, as it actually was.
I would ask my good friends of the Ralliement Creditiste to learn the rules of the house properly and not to introduce to no avail motions for an urgent debate when the said rules do not allow it.
Mr. Chairman, the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Choquette) rose last night and took the time to say what he had to say. Again this afternoon he is allowed to repeat exactly the same stupidities he uttered last night in this house.
I want to say this: if the Liberals had accepted the debate yesterday, we would have
had it. They know that the motion has not been ruled out of order. It was said yesterday specifically that it was not the proper time for such a debate but that it might be the proper time today.
When the time comes for a vote of nonconfidence Mr. Chairman, the member for Lotbiniere may take a position for or against the farmers of his constituency of Lotbiniere.
As far as the standing orders are concerned, I believe the members of the Ralliement Creditiste understand them as well as the hon. member for Lotbiniere who is 100 per cent wrong and far afield when he rises in the house to make a speech or on a point of order.
Precisely, but perhaps you do not like the same sort of things.
Mr. Chairman, I do not hold a grudge against the member for Lotbiniere, not at all. He is a fine fellow, a gentleman. His only weakness is being too Liberal. When he is not overly Liberal, he is otherwise intelligent.
* (4:20 p.m.)
Mr. Chairman, I conclude my remarks here with a specific and clear reminder that we want to be objective in this debate. The Conservatives know that we are wasting the time of the house and that there are other important items of legislation to pass. They have been told that we could stand section 2 temporarily, in order to pass other sections, and that we could come back to section 2 later, but no, they do not want to do so; they are stubborn.
All I ask is that the debate make some progress, that we get on with our discussions and that we stop ridiculing the Canadian people and making ourselves ridiculous in the eyes of the Canadian people. This question of unification must be settled. Very soon the government will be charged with dictatorship because of a motion calling for the end of the debate in committee. I do not consider that as the application of a gag but rather as the establishment of some kind of order to make us stop wasting our time here.
We must be objective and see the bill as it is. If we must try something new, let us go ahead. Something must be tried. If it does not work, it is possible to make a change, but let us try it. And if the experiment proves to be useless, unsuccessful, I will be the first to turn against it and to look for a new way of creating a Canadian army which will be
April 19, 1967
effective, which will not waste money, ol which we will be proud not only in Canada but throughout the world.
Mr. Chairman, I wish to make a contribution to this debate, because I think it is a most important and most interesting one, and because I cannot understand the stubbornness of the official opposition in fighting this legislation, particularly the stubbornness of the flying squad, if I may call it that, composed mainly of the hon. members for Edmonton-Strathcona (Mr. Nugent), the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre (Mr. Churchill) and the hon. member for Cape Breton South (Mr. Maclnnis).
One of the arguments of the official opposition against Bill No. C-243, from the start of this debate, has been that all retired top officers oppose the unification of the armed forces.
At the beginning of my remarks I should like to put on the record some of the statements issued by officers who are surely as distinguished as those who are opposed to unification and integration, by high-ranking retired officers who give their unqualified support to unification.
The first is that of Air Vice Marshal Sully, as reproduced by the Canadian Press on November 9, 1966, and I quote:
When so many ex senior officers are bursting into print with emotional opposition to Mr. Hellyer's plans for unification of our defence services, it is time that some of us who support this forward movement spoke up.
As an experienced senior officer and as a businessman,-
And I emphasize "businessman".
-I find it difficult to understand how any rationally-minded man could oppose this excellent move to unification of our defence services.
Politics are not allowed in the Canadian armed forces.
I speak with intimate knowledge when I say that if the public was aware of the tremendous overlapping of effort, and the consequent inefficiency, and of the appalling inter-service jealousies and rivalries for status, they would rise as one and demand immediate unification and at a much faster clip than is now planned.