April 20, 1967

LIB

George James McIlraith (Minister of Public Works; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Mcllrailh:

I would be very happy to explain. I joined completely with the Minister

[Mr. Mcllraith.l

of National Defence, and I am happy to note we were in such total accord, in going contrary to the official opposition's effort to prevent this bill from being discussed in the house on Tuesday, when we had given notice to resort to the procedure under standing order 15A. He, like myself, did not wish to deny the House of Commons the opportunity to discuss this bill that day and make progress with it. As to the second point, the misuse by the hon. member of the word closure, I have already dealt with that.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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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, the play on words by the Minister of Public Works is clear and apparent. This isn't closure, he says, when in point of fact it is nothing else; and by simply saying that it isn't what it is, he in no way meets the argument that the guillotine is to be used in place of the axe.

I listened with interest to his dissertation on parliamentary debate and the manner in which it should be carried on, and I could not but be reminded of the words of Lewis Carroll when he said-and this describes the attitude of the minister.

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:

''I deeply sympathize."

With sobs and tears he sorted out Those of the largest size,

Holding his pocket-handkerchief Before his streaming eyes.

Oh, what an idea, to think parliament would ever consider that these paragons of parliamentary practice who sit opposite would do anything wrong and shock those sensibilities of which the minister spoke. I quote to him the words of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, one of the great democrats of this nation, one of the parliamentary giants of all time. Apparently the minister has not read what Laurier said. A moment ago he was complaining about the number of days that had been taken up in this debate. If my estimate is correct, in the days that have gone by 30 members other than members of Her Majesty's loyal opposition have spoken.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

Michael Starr (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Starr:

On the second clause.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Of course on the second clause, as the hon. gentleman says. By way of an answer, let me read what Laurier said to those people sitting opposite who in 1967 are revealing that they have forgotten 1956.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

They said the same thing then. I could quote one and all, the Minister

April 20, 1967 COMMONS

of Public Works (Mr. Mcllraith), the Minister of Transport (Mr. Pickersgill), the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Hellyer) and the Prime Minister (Mr. Pearson), but I restrict myself to the latter. These were the words of ridicule that he heaped on us in 1956:

The opposition, of course, claim, and they claim very often, to be gagged. If that is true, Mr. Speaker, they are the noisiest group of gagged men in history.

Those words came back to destroy the government of which the right hon. gentleman was then secretary of state for external affairs. The Minister of Public Works says the debate has gone on for so many days. Let me read what Laurier said in regard to debate. I refer to the 1912-13 Hansard at page 7431:

It has been charged against us that we have delayed the business of the house, that we have prevented it from going on. Sir, I deny the charge altogether; there is not a word of foundation for it.

Further on he said this:

It is true, sir, that we opposed a certain measure. It is true that we opposed the bill for naval aid. We did that with all the might at our command; we did it with all the means at our command under the rules of the house. Am I to be told that in the exercise of this power of strenuous opposition we did anything which is not in accordance with the best traditions of parliamentary government?

Then he went on to deal with the length of time, and in reply to an interruption he pointed out this fact, as recorded at page 9454 of Hansard for the same session, and I quote the interruption first:

My right hon. friend would surely be disposed to admit that in nineteen or twenty days we ought to be able to make sufficient progress to enable every amendment to be considered.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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?

Paul Lucier

Sir Wilfrid Laurier:

I do not admit anything of the kind. I can show precedents of bills of less importance that have taken the house more than thirty days in committee of the whole-

The minister referred to British parliamentary practice. As recorded at page 9534 of the same Hansard Sir Wilfrid Laurier said it is quite common in the United Kingdom to have lengthy discussion in committee on important bills, for one, two or three weeks. Then he went on and dealt in general with the situation in this regard.

Why has there been this debate, Mr. Speaker? Because we have not been able to get the answers to those questions we have asked.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

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Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I am now going to refer to words that will become immortal as an

Proposal for Time Allocation example of non-egotism on the part of the Minister of National Defence. Before I do that I say this, what we have been treated to in this country in the last few weeks is a plethora of press releases issued by the visible presence of the representative of the minister

organized nonsense.

[DOT] (3:20 p.m.)

I cannot pass up the opportunity to refer to one thing that took place in the United States, because it is of interest today. In 1942 the father of the United States airborne forces and the first officer to command one of the divisions was William M. Lee. He had the rank of major general, which of course we must not bring up at all for consideration at this time. It was the custom then as a man jumped from the transport plane to shout "Geronimo". Geronimo was an Apache rebel who caused the Americans a lot of trouble. Major General Lee was transferred to another unit and his place was taken by General Maxwell Taylor. He issued orders that instead of shouting "Geronimo" each paratrooper of the division should shout "Bill Lee" as he jumped out. History is a magnificent study. It is probably only a coincidence that there was so much disorganization, confusion and a complete mix-up when that name was substituted for the former. Let me bring this up to date. The Minister of National Defence and this government are so disorganized and unprepared they might well shout the same cry.

What has happened at this time is that generals, admirals, and air marshals have been swept aside. Their views mean nothing. As the minister said in the course of his remarks "We have to use our own God-given intelligence" to make decisions. I ask the Prime Minister when he speaks-

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

I am not going to bother.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Is he not going to speak?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

Michael Starr (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Starr:

He is not going to bother.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

He is not going to bother. That is the best indication of the utter disregard the Prime Minister has for parliament; he is not going to bother to speak. Is that because he has adopted that unusually unattractive position he took in Vancouver when he was asked about the subject of abortion? He was asked where he stood in this regard and his answer was "I stand firmly". The next question was "where"? His answer was "On the fence". He is not going to bother. No wonder we are faced with closure. The Prime Minister does not want to answer. He does

April 20, 1967

Proposal for Time Allocation not want to take the position he should take as the leader of this nation and tell the House of Commons what this government intends to do in respect of unification.

What are the government's plans? In the last 24 hours we have been told-and it is interesting to note that the newspapers are now reporting these things-that plans are being made against the eventuality that a peace keeping force will be sent to Viet Nam. Surely this is part of the propaganda program. In the last few days there has been debate on this question, and suddenly now there is a deliberate leak by a defence department source while parliament is in the throes of a debate on this subject. I have said, and the minister has denied this, that it is generally accepted that this government intends to produce a kind of faceless organization, once it gets these men into green jumpers, to be used as a special force for peace keeping. I think that is one of the pivotal reasons for this measure. This suggestion has already been turned down by the United Nations, yet the government proceeds with this idea. A government spokesman has said that plans have been drawn up to send a thousand man force to Viet Nam. I asked the Prime Minister to give us this information, not that minister who refuses to answer questions and substitutes abuse for arguments.

Has there been any discussion about this with the United Nations? Has there been any indication of such a request forthcoming, or is this just another of these publicity blurbs that regularly fill the wastepaper baskets of the press? What indication has there been of any acceptance by Hanoi of a cease fire and withdrawal, without which there can be no peace keeping? These are questions we want answered, yet they remain unanswered. What is the government's attitude in respect of renewal or rejection of NORAD? Surely if this house ever had a right to information, it has a right in this regard.

What is the government going to do with these green uniformed representatives in the armed forces of Canada? What is the government's policy in respect of NORAD? What is the attitude of the government regarding our commitments to NATO? I read the diaphanous explanation given by the minister. I can only say to him that in my experience no man is his equal, if that is his general manner of answering. He conceals so little thought in so many words.

What is the government's policy in respect of NATO? Is there any foundation for the

suggestion that the number of men will be reduced? We have a right to this information. This debate would have concluded long ago had we received answers to these questions.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Oh, yes. I am not speaking about the 22 Liberal members, if that is the number, who have spoken. They would have spoken in any event. I am speaking about Her Majesty's opposition. We have no right to let this government sell Canada a pig in a poke, and that is what is being done.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

What amazes me is that the Prime Minister says he has nothing to say. Shades of Laurier. Shades of King. Shades of St. Laurent. The only time Mr. St. Laurent did not take part in a debate to reply to suggestions or questions was in 1956, and we all know what happened to the St. Laurent government in 1957 after that government trampled on parliament. This government ridicules us now. This is the same old bunch.

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Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

Michael Starr (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Siarr:

You have been integrated up to your necks.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

All I can say is that this is an arid integration in so far as answers are concerned.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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LIB

Marcel Prud'homme

Liberal

Mr. Prud'homme:

What about integration within your own party?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR TIME ALLOCATION RESPECTING DEFENCE ACT AMENDMENT
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April 20, 1967