July 7, 1967

LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

The hon. gentleman can call "Shame" all he likes. He poses as a great authority on the rules.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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LIB

John Whitney Pickersgill (Minister of Transport)

Liberal

Mr. Pickersgill:

He knows he can never win an election and sit on this side of the house, and he is trying indirectly to substitute himself for the government-and to substitute his motion for the message from the crown that would have to precede any such measure which the government alone, under our parliamentary system, has the right to bring forward.

Not only is the hon. member doing that but he is seeking by a procedural motion to direct this house in advance that it must pass this bill which we have never seen and whose contents we do not know anything about. The hon. member is seeking to say that the Senate must also pass this bill because he says we are not to adjourn until the bill is ready for royal assent.

I suggest that not only is the hon. member vastly expanding the motion but he is seeking to do indirectly what he knows perfectly well, as a private member who has never been able to get enough confidence in this country to sit on this side of the house, he could never do directly.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Transport always manages, under the guise of dealing with a point of order, to bring in all the political connotations he possibly can.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

If there is anyone who ought not to be talking about the confidence of the country, it is a government that is now trying to find refuge behind the rules of the house to cover up the fact that they have betrayed a promise they made to the retired civil servants of Canada.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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LIB

Edgar John Benson (President of the Treasury Board; Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. Benson:

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I understand that the minister wants to rise on a question of privilege. I have the impression that we are now slowly slipping into the debate which might take place, and which I assume will take place, either on the amendment proposed by the hon. member if it is accepted and, if not, on the motion itself. The motion is, of course, a debatable one and hon. members

Motion for Adjournment have at least this day to debate it. Therefore I suggest that we try to limit our consideration at the moment and follow the excellent example of the right hon. Leader of the Opposition a moment ago. Having made these comments, I recognize the Minister of National Revenue on his question of privilege.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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LIB

Edgar John Benson (President of the Treasury Board; Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Hon. E. J. Benson (Minister of National Revenue and President of the Treasury Board):

My question of privilege is this, Mr. Speaker. It has been implied several times that something would be done by a specific date. This is just not the case, and hon. members opposite know it as well as I do. The committee reported back in May. The government has been considering the matter. I have stated that it is under active consideration and that I hope action will be taken in due course.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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PC

John George Diefenbaker (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Hope springs in due course.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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LIB

Edgar John Benson (President of the Treasury Board; Minister of National Revenue)

Liberal

Mr. Benson:

But at no time has the government promised that action would be taken before the house adjourns.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Mr. Speaker, the fact is that a promise was made. Whether a date was attached to it or not, the time has come for the promise to be implemented. These promises are made with an indefinite date in mind which never seems to arrive. They are the Hamlets of Canada-tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes.

I agree with Your Honour that we are getting off the point of order, but I can assure Your Honour the debate started to slip in that direction before I rose to my feet. May I deal with the point of order raised by the Minister of Transport. It is with reference to the phrase "and to any other measures." If the house has the right to discuss any other measures before the adjournment, then surely the house also has the right, in the control of its own business, to indicate what one of those measures should be. The item which the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre is seeking to have the house delineate as an item for discussion prior to the adjournment for a summer recess is that having to do with pensions for retired civil servants. It seems to me that since the government itself put this phrase into the motion the house has the right now to indicate what item it would like to discuss prior to the adjournment.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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LIB

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I thank hon. members for their assistance to me in ruling on the very interesting point of order raised

July 7. 1967

Motion for Adjournment originally by the Minister of National Health and Welfare. I have had the usual consultations in the light of the advice given to the Chair and I am now in a position to render a decision, or at least give an expression of opinion.

It seems to me there is something to what was said by the Minister of National Health and Welfare when he suggested that it is a new proposition which the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre seeks to introduce in the consideration of the motion. To my mind this amendment goes even further in that to a considerable extent it is a substantive amendment raising an entirely new question and would require notice.

However, there is some doubt on this point and I might have tended to accept the amendment if there were that objection only. There is another objection which is more serious and which I take the liberty of bringing to the attention of hon. members. I would refer hon. members to Beauchesne's fourth edition, citation 260(1) which reads as follows:

The tendency has been in the Canadian House of Commons, for the past 25 years, to rule out all motions purporting to give the government a direct order to do a thing which cannot be done without the expenditure of money. Our Journals are full of precedents to this effect.

To my mind this citation is exactly on the point, and because of this I must rule the amendment out of order.

[DOT] (12:10 p.m.)

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Mr. Speaker, I should like to say just a word on the motion. The members of this party are extremely disturbed that the house should propose to adjourn for a summer recess without dealing with the matter which has been raised by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles). The fact that the retired civil servants have over the years seen the cost of living rise annually, which has meant a diminution in the purchasing power of their pensions, has caused great distress among them, and this distress has not just been felt in the last two or three years or the last two or three months. The government has been in office for over four years.

As my colleague said, the previous government dealt with this matter and the present government, fully aware of the distress which has been caused among the retired civil servants, claims to have been studying the matter. It was referred to a joint House of Commons and Senate committee which put forward a unanimous recommendation for action. There

have been months of delay. We have been told that the matter was under active, serious and urgent consideration. Consideration has been given to it every time but no action is ever taken.

We had hoped that in view of the fact that the government had plenty of warning it would have brought in legislation to deal with this matter before the house recesses for the summer. The complexity of this legislation is no excuse. There have been plenty of precedents for this legislation and there has been plenty of time to deal with this matter. If the ministers are so busy with other matters that they think this one is less important and can be delayed, then they are wrong because the Canadian people, who have a high regard for civil servants, feel that they have an indebtedness to them and owe it to them to see that they do not suffer by virtue of the rising cost of living and that their pensions should be adjusted to meet the rising cost. Since the government has completely failed to do this, we think that the house has no right to recess until this great injustice is remedied.

Since the government refuses to act, we have no other recourse but to vote against the motion to adjourn, and not because we do not want to see the house adjourn because we recognize the need for members to return to their respective constituencies. But surely no recess is more important than the passage of a measure to relieve the distress of the retired civil servants of this country.

When the hon. member for Kootenay East (Mr. Byrne) speaks about blackmail because we are trying to get the government to live up to its commitments, I want to tell him that the people of Canada will not consider it blackmail and that anybody who can get this government to keep its promises is doing a public service.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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?

Some hon. Members:

Oh, oh.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

When the hon. member for Kootenay East says it is blackmail of the taxpayers, I challenge the government to ask the taxpayers of Canada whether they want to upgrade the pensions of the retired civil servants of this country. Let the government not blame the taxpayers. The government is not covering up for the taxpayers; it is trying to cover up for its own inability, inefficiency and failure to grapple with a problem whose solution is long overdue.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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PC

Gordon Minto Churchill

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

Will the hon. member permit a question? Now that he has displayed his

July 7, 1967

complete lack of confidence in the government, would he inform the house why he and his party have so frequently sustained the government by their votes during the last two years?

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre that many times we have moved motions of non-confidence in the government which would have been passed had it not been for the absenteeism of members of the official opposition.

Topic:   BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Subtopic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
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July 7, 1967