December 2, 1968

NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. Broadbent:

-and buy weapons, if we need to, on the open, competitive market. I

December 2, 1968

COMMONS DEBATES 3381

am not saying we should get out of defence entirely, because that would be a ludicrous argument. But I suggest we should be spending our money for research and development in the private sector, that we should be looking at the sectors of Canadian geography and industry that could be viable in terms of international competition. We should be using government funds to encourage research and development in this area and should not be promoting a new kind of industrial-military, research-oriented elite in this country.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY
Permalink
LIB

Albert Béchard (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Shall vote 1 carry?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

No.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY
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PC

Marcel Joseph Aimé Lambert

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Lambert (Edmonton West):

Mr. Chairman, I ask the minister whether he can give us a breakdown or report on the operations of the machinery advisory board under section 15 of the Department of Industry Act. Also, can the minister give us a breakdown of the expenditures of the board? In other words, what is the cost of the board in so far as its operations are concerned?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY
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PC

Alfred Dryden Hales

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Hales:

Mr. Chairman, I wonder whether the minister wishes to reply to the questions asked up to this time or are we to proceed with vote 1?

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY
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LIB

Yves Forest (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Foresl:

Mr. Chairman, while we are considering the estimates of the Department of Industry and Trade and Commerce, I take the opportunity to congratulate the minister for his appointment to this important position. All those who know him for his intelligence, his devotion to duty, and to work, are happy he has been chosen for this tremendous job and we certainly expect his support for the economic development of the less favoured areas in particular which need government support and help to actualize their potential.

I should like to draw his attention for only a few minutes, on the present situation of the textile industry and specially on the necessity of long term policies and programs in order that these industries may make plans for a certain number of years rather than to be acquainted with government policy on a yearly basis; the latter not only unsettles them, but prevents any planning of their production and of the increase of their industrial capacity for a certain number of years.

I believe I do not need to draw the attention of the minister on the situation in the

Proceedings on Adjournment Motion textile industry, which is well known to him. He knows how important the textile industry is, particularly to a great number of Quebec municipalities. As a matter of fact, these communities are particularly apt to suffer from importation of textiles or clothes from countries where lower production costs allow manufacturers to export their products in Canada. This is an industry which generally hires quite a number of employees. And if we study the statistics, we shall see that the number of workers shows a tendency to decrease every year. In 1967, according to the statistics for March, the number of employees was 83,000 whilst in 1966, they numbered a little over 87,000. The volume of importations has greatly increased especially during the last few years-

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY
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LIB

Albert Béchard (Deputy Chair of Committees of the Whole)

Liberal

The Deputy Chairman:

Order. It being six o'clock, it is my duty to rise, report progress and request leave to sit again later this day.

Progress reported.

Topic:   DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY
Permalink

PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION

SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED

IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

It is my duty, pursuant to provisional standing order 39A, to inform the house that the questions to be raised at the time of adjournment tonight are as follows: The hon. member for Kootenay West (Mr. Harding)-National Parks-Glacier-inquiry as to logging operations; the hon. member for Bellechasse (Mr. Lambert)-Vocational training-restriction of retraining to a certain number of persons; the hon. member for Oshawa-Whitby (Mr. Broadbent)-Housing- Oshawa-availability of defence department property.

[DOT] (6:00 p.m.)

It being six o'clock the house will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business as listed on today's order paper, namely notices of motions. I am advised that notice of motion No. 14 was called for the first time on Monday, November 25, 1968, and if not proceeded with today when called it would normally be dropped from the order paper.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED
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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact it was allowed to stand on November 25 by unanimous consent because the hon. member was then at the United Nations, I wonder whether it could

December 2, 1968

Youth Extension Program not be agreed that it stand once more but only once more?

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED
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LIB

Yves Forest (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Liberal

Mr. Forest:

We would have no objection to allowing it to stand once more in view of the fact the hon. member had reason to be away, provided it is proceeded with next Wednesday.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Topic:   PROCEEDINGS ON ADJOURNMENT MOTION
Subtopic:   SUBJECT MATTER OF QUESTIONS TO BE DEBATED
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YOUTH EXTENSION PROGRAM

SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF INTEREST IN PARLIAMENT AND THE CONSTITUTION

PC

Stanley Stanford Schumacher

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stan Schumacher (Palliser) moved:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the advisability of underwriting a youth extension program of the parliament of Canada to:

(a) Promote and nurture an interest among the youth of Canada in the principles of our constitution;

(b) Promote belief in the power of reason as applied through public discussion as preferable to silence coerced by law;

(c) Provide annual seminars for young Canadians from shore to shore under the supervision of M.P.'s and officers of the House of Commons and Senate to gain insight into, and understanding of, the workings of government in deliberation and action.

He said: Mr. Speaker, many motions of this type have appeared before and been debated in this house. They were particularly plentiful prior to centennial year and were discussed in connection with the establishment of the Company of Young Canadians when there was hope that body would contribute in some constructive way to the quality of life in Canada instead of turning into what appears to be a group of self-seeking agitators with international aspirations. Because of the publicity given to the desirability of participatory democracy and the just society during the recent general election, I would hope hon. members would not talk out this motion but rather allow it to result in a formal expression of opinion by the house.

I am happy that this motion has risen to the top of the list for debate today, in view of the fact we will soon be debating the procedures of this house. In my view, as a result of discussions with other hon. members and of reading the views of certain journalists, there appears to be a great misunderstanding concerning the proper role of parliament. According to these views, mistaken in my opinion, parliament should be busy governing the country by actually making day to day decisions on this and that problem. According to this view, the debate on the Address in

Reply to the Speech from the Throne, as well as the speech itself for that matter, are useless and a waste of time. As I have said, these views appear to me to demonstrate a lack of understanding of our parliamentary system.

I believe that the people of Canada are entitled to an annual report from the government as to its assessment of the state of our nation and a general outline of the government's intentions in that regard. I believe also that the representatives of the people should be able to criticize that report and those intentions and to make general suggestions which could lead to better solutions to the problems of our nation. In my opinion, it is ridiculous to suggest that, on the one hand, our democracy should be more participatory while on the other hand proposing that the democratically elected representatives should be restricted in the expression of their views. Hon. members, journalists and the general public should know that the house is a deliberative body which exercises no executive powers. It should not be looked upon as a machine that will grind out decisions which, in fact, are executive in nature. It is high time that the executive and its apologists stopped using this as an excuse for lack of action and leadership in administering the affairs of this nation.

This motion also refers to the constitution itself and that brings up the question of the monarchy. I have noticed since arriving here that there is not a general acceptance of this institution. This is a fact which concerns me more than any other in connection with the future of this nation. If I might speak personally for a moment, I would say that I am a relatively new Canadian since both of my parents were born in the United States. I would say also that when I first became interested in the government of this country and began comparing our institutions with those in the United States I was not very impressed with ours. However, as my study progressed I reversed that decision. Having said that, all I wish to say is that an understanding of our system will result in the revelation of its superiority and that a danger exists in destroying or removing those symbols or symbolic items which strengthen the foundation of our system. I feel that if the monarchy were removed and a congressional or republican form of government established there would be growing pressures for union with the United States, the argument being, why use a facsimile when the real thing is available?

December 2, 1368

It took over 500 years to bring us from the plains of Runnymede and Magna Carta to our present position where the rights of the individual are recognized in a free society. Today our youth is being subjected to direction and persuasion from movements based on violence, permissive sex and drugs in a concerted attempt to undermine and overthrow what it took 500 years to build, namely, our free society with respect for the rights of the individual but recognizing also individual responsibilities.

Parliament cannot remain indifferent to the many tides and currents of intent, not all of them good, to which our young people are exposed today. Let us face the fact that many of the institutions which we take for granted, free speech, parliament itself, the rights of the individuals, service to our country, are today being attacked and derided not only by expatriate drop-outs from the United States society but by Canadians who would replace our way of life with suppression and tyranny. Let us bring some of our young people to Ottawa and make known to them what parliament is all about. Let them discuss and learn from members of this house how freedom works on parliament hill. This house cannot remain aloof from what is going on. Let us give parliament back to the people.

Topic:   YOUTH EXTENSION PROGRAM
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF INTEREST IN PARLIAMENT AND THE CONSTITUTION
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LIB

B. Keith Penner

Liberal

Mr. B. Keith Penner (Thunder Bay):

Mr. Speaker, I sincerely and earnestly congratulate the hon. member for Palliser (Mr. Schumacher) upon bringing before this house a notice of motion which is excellent in both wording and intent. I believe that the concept of an annual thought-gathering conference of the young people of Canada would stimulate enthusiastic discussion and consideration. It is, therefore, with strong conviction that I lend my support to the suggestion that the government of Canada should underwrite such a project in order to promote and nurture interest among the youth of Canada in the principles of our constitution and to promote belief in the power of reason through public discussion, as the motion suggests.

As an educator I am personally aware and convinced of the urgent need to introduce a vigorous program in Canada to educate our young people in the functions and responsibilities of our parliamentary system of government. I well recall my efforts in trying to teach Canadian students about societies and cultures of the past in other parts of the world. Seeking a point of reference to clarify an understanding of political practices, I used

29180-214a

Youth Extension Program our own parliamentary system for the purpose of drawing a comparison. To my dismay,, this proved to be a very ineffective teaching technique simply because there was an appalling ignorance of our federal parliamentary system of government among the students I met.

[DOT] (6:10 p.m.)

I hasten to point out, Mr. Speaker, that this situation is not entirely the fault of our students, for they can only take advantage of the opportunities which are presented to them. Further, we should not seek to blame hardworking and dedicated teachers who have long courses of study to present in a limited amount of time. Most schools, I believe, offer a course or courses on civics at some stage along the educational route, and I have seen some excellent books and booklets which try to shed light on the organization and operation of government. Nevertheless, many good teachers will testify that civics, more often than not, is among the most sterile and boring of all subjects.

Part of the reason for this unfortunate fact is that all too frequently classroom lessons on government require and expect a student to memorize, digest and duplicate the information to which he is exposed. He is stuffed or programmed like a computer, and there is minimal opportunity for participation or involvement.

The notice of motion now under consideration calls for annual seminars for young Canadians to gain insight into and understanding of the workings of government in deliberation and in action. I would go a little further and call for annual regional and national youth parliaments in conjunction with these seminars where our young people could not only discuss but actually participate in the processes of parliamentary democracy.

These have been tried before with outstanding success and we need more of them now. They can only be brought about with the encouragement and assistance of the federal government, with the help of officers of this house and of members of parliament and senators. Such a program would go far in breaking down the walls of ignorance. The interest, enthusiasm and resultant comprehension of our young people would amaze us all.

The report of the provincial committee on aims and objectives of education in the schools of Ontario entitled "Living and Learning"-

December 2, 1968

Youth Extension Program the so-called Hall-Denis report-speaking about curriculum says:

The curriculum must provide a greater array of learning experiences than heretofore. Classes must be more mobile, within and beyond the local environment, and the rigid position of education must yield to a flexibility capable of meeting new needs. These and other innovations will be aimed at developing in the child a sense of personal achievement and responsibility commensurate with his age and ability-

While education is not directly a federal responsibility, we can certainly do something in the national interest to promote interest and understanding of our political system.

The United Nations Association has been very effective in developing an educational program of model United Nations which are conducted annually in several areas of Canada. Having participated in these projects, I vividly recall the intense interest and enthusiasm which marked the proceedings. Young Canadians acting as representatives of various nations, actively involved in debate and discussion, became aware of complex world problems and the terrible elusiveness of quick, easy solutions. We have a responsibility also to assist our youth to comprehend more meaningfully our serious national problems and the existing machinery which must be used as is or redesigned to find the answers to our problems.

Recently we have witnessed disturbing outbreaks of youth violence in many parts of the world. A report recently referred to in the committee on miscellaneous estimates and prepared by a consultant for the Company of Young Canadians doubted the sufficiency of the parliamentary system for today's needs, and even suggested that our efficient bureaucratic society might produce the need for violence to achieve change. This report, of course, was only a position paper, and it was not by any means fully endorsed by the C.Y.C. Nevertheless, the fact that some people think in such radical terms, the fact that so many in our society do not know how to protest, how to initiate change, points to a learning deficiency which exists not only in Canada but in many parts of our contemporary world. The lessons of so-called participatory democracy must be learned and our government can help to assist this concept by introducing a youth program on government, using the suggestions outlined in this motion and other ideas as well.

[Mr. Penner.l

The Hall-Denis report on education in a chapter entitled "The Search for Truth in a Democratic Society", says:

Democracy is a flexible, responsive form of government, which arises not as a result of imposed or structured political practices, but as a dynamic, liberating force nurtured by the people themselves. It implies the freedom to think, to dissent, and to bring about lawful change in the interest of all. It can flourish only when its citizens are free to search continually for new ideas, models, and theories to replace outmoded knowledge in an effort to serve an increasing number of people. A true democracy is a free and responsible society-

The heart of the problem of providing a general education in a democratic society is that of ensuring the continuance of the liberal and humane tradition. This is far more basic to our society than the worship of intellectual pursuits and scientific endeavour for their own sake. If freedom is to be nourished and maintained, the educational process must include at each level of growth and development some continuing experience in making value judgments.

I strongly urge the government to consider some form of a youth program on government. It would be helpful to have members of parliament involved in this program, not so much under our supervision, as the notice of motion suggests, but rather using them as resource persons. And what an opportunity for them as well, Mr. Speaker. Not only would our youth become more familiar and better acquainted with the operations of the government but our members of parliament would also become more familiar and better acquainted with the views and aspirations of this nation's youth.

Topic:   YOUTH EXTENSION PROGRAM
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF INTEREST IN PARLIAMENT AND THE CONSTITUTION
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?

Mr. C.-A. Gauthier@Roberval

Mr. Speaker, I had not intended to speak this afternoon but my interest was awakened when I read this notice of motion. I think it comes at the right time, since we may begin to consider constitutional reform after the Christmas recess and ideas put forward now are like seeds of future discussions.

The notice of motion says:

That, in the opinion of this house, the government should consider the advisability of underwriting a youth extension program of the parliament of Canada.

The first reason for this program, and I continue to quote, is to:

Promote and nurture an interest among the youth of Canada in the principles of our constitution.

I think hon. members who have often come into contact with the youth of today will first and foremost have to try to give our young people confidence in our present constitution, a confidence they lack, as I realized

December 2, 1968

Topic:   YOUTH EXTENSION PROGRAM
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF INTEREST IN PARLIAMENT AND THE CONSTITUTION
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PC

Walter Gilbert Dinsdale

Progressive Conservative

Hon. W. G. Dinsdale (Brandon-Souris):

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to support without any reservation whatsoever the motion put forward by the hon. member. In recent years many in Canada have been increasingly interested in and concerned about our young people. It has been felt that the young people of Canada should have a closer contact with and participation in affairs of the nation at the national level. It is interesting to note that in response to that growing interest the average age of hon. members of this house has decreased over the years, that supports the contention that the young people of Canada are becoming more concerned about and more directly involved in governmental processes.

The hon. member who preceded me in this debate was somewhat critical of the observations made by the mover of the motion. I think that those criticisms would be dissipated if the house approved of the proposition that has been put forward this afternoon.

I will not deal with all aspects of the motion but only with part (c) which says:

Provide annual seminars for young Canadians from shore to shore under the supervision of M.P.s and officers of the House of Commons and Senate to gain insight into, and understanding of, the workings of government in deliberation and action.

[DOT] (6:30 p.m.)

I am sure some hon. members who are present in the house this evening will recall it had been hoped that a major activity of the centennial year would be a youth parliament.

Some who are with us this evening took an active part in trying to promote this idea and get it off the ground. It was endorsed by the then prime minister, by the leader of the opposition and by the leaders of the smaller groups, and considerable groundwork was laid in planning the project. A joint committee of the House of Commons and the Senate met on several occasions and strongly recommended that the idea of a youth parliament should be carried out in 1967. It would seem to me that part (c) of the motion before us would tie in directly with the youth parliament proposal. I particularly like the words which say it should be under the supervision of members of parliament and officers of the House of Commons.

Those who followed the work done in connection with the youth parliament will recall it was an essential recommendation that the centennial youth parliament should be directly connected with the activities of this house.

(Mr. Gauthier.]

December 2, 1968

Indeed the final report of the joint committee recommended that the youth parliament be a precise duplication of the senior parliament of Canada. The involvement of M.P.s would have arisen from the fact that they would have supervised the electoral process in their constituencies.

This process would have resulted in the election of a young person of high school age, a boy or girl who would receive the honour of going to Ottawa and, during a particular period of time, actually understudying the functions of the official federal representative in parliament. I think you will understand, Mr. Speaker, why there was so much enthusiasm for this proposal. It would have meant that every high school in every constituency in Canada would have become deeply involved in direct participation in the parliamentary process and this, I think, would have been an educational experience par excellence; it would have meant the carrying out of the purpose of clause (c) here to the ultimate.

I do not wish to prolong this discussion unduly, but I would suggest that the idea of a youth parliament is not a lost cause. Questions have been asked on this subject on several occasions already this session. On the most recent occasion a question was directed to the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) who indicated that the youth parliament idea would not be proceeded with during the current parliament, largely on account of the need for austerity. However, I suggest that if this house were to support unanimously the excellent proposal which is now before it, it would strengthen the Prime Minister in reaching a final decision on this question.

I certainly hope that the excellent preparatory work which has gone into this youth parliament proposition-it began as early as 1964 and extended through centennial year- will not be lost, and that the proposal will at last be implemented. The records are available, I believe, in the official records of parliament, because the joint parliamentary committee was officially established to look into the proposal. In seeking support for the resolution before us I urge that this proposal be linked with the background to which I have referred, and that we should move forward as quickly as possible toward a program which will involve the youth of Canada more directly in the political process.

In recent months, the desire of the youth of Canada to become more directly involved in affairs of state and in the political process at

December 2, 1968 COMMONS

all levels has been made dramatically clear by the activities of the protest movement on the campus. I recently came across a quotation which appears to be highly relevant in this regard, and I should like to present it to the house:

Everything about us stresses instant gratification of want. We can travel anywhere in a matter of hours or days. We can communicate instantly, be entertained instantly. Is it any wonder that young people living in this climate should want instant spiritual fulfilment, instant physical gratification, instant change in the political and social system?

Those of us who have been in parliament over a period of time are aware that instant solutions to the political and social problems facing this nation are not possible. The process of parliamentary discussion, attempting to arrive at consensus, takes place only slowly through the parliamentary system as we have seen it established over the years. It is unfortunate that because of the present sense of urgency the functions of parliament have been downgraded in recent years. This is a point which was made by the mover of the motion in his opening statement. I am sure that if we can arrange a youth seminar or a youth parliament, whatever one wishes to call it, on an annual basis under the supervision of M.P.'s and officers of this house, it will result in a much more intelligent and responsible approach to affairs of state by the rising generations. It is for this reason, and many others I could state, that I hope the house will give unanimous approval to the motion.

[DOT] (6:40 p.m.)

Topic:   YOUTH EXTENSION PROGRAM
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF INTEREST IN PARLIAMENT AND THE CONSTITUTION
Permalink
LIB

Jacques Guilbault

Liberal

Mr. Jacques Guilbault (Saini-Jacques):

Mr. Speaker, this is my first opportunity to speak in this house since my election and I must say I cannot but be moved by applause, not yet deserved, coming from the hon. members from all sides of the house.

I should like first of all to congratulate sincerely the hon. member for Palliser (Mr. Schumacher) for having brought in this project that 1 would call a youth parliament. The hon. member for Palliser is a young member, like me, and I believe this project concerning youth suits him well and that he owed it to himself to bring it in.

I heard about such projects of youth parliament a long time ago and I was quite interested by it. I now have the opportunity to support this motion. The main reason why I support it is the deplorable lack of interest in Canada for federal politics.

DEBATES 3387

Youth Extension Program

From one election to another, in the various ridings, candidates spend huge amounts not only to get elected but also to interest people in politics, to stir them up, to induce them to discuss and to vote.

In my riding, I noticed that despite the efforts made by six candidates during a month and a half, not even 50 per cent of the people cared to vote. Such a lack of interest stems undoubtedly from the fact that people are not informed, and a youth parliament will be a means to interest this sector of the population that will be the electorate of to-morrow, i.e. our youth. That is why I want to support this project of a youth parliament.

This program will have unquestionable advantages, the major one being political education. Today's youth, as other speakers said earlier, are ill-informed in school on the subject of politics and parliamentary institutions. Today's youth are disputatious and they insist on their rights; they insist, from day to day, from month to month, on getting more and more from governments. They do not know much, however, about the responsibilities of a minister; they do not know much about budgets. While they demand, they often forget that to give, a government must take from the taxpayers' pockets. There is a lack of political education when people are always begging for something, without realizing that money has to come from somewhere.

In my opinion, a youth parliament, a model parliament of that type, would enable young Canadians to be initiated in all the complicated aspects of the Canadian political life and to familiarize themselves with the good as well as with the bad sides of things. On returning home they would be in a position to communicate their enthusiasm to other young people in their surroundings and as I was saying before, stimulating a political interest in today's youth is creating a sense of responsibility in tomorrow's electors.

There are other advantages also. In fact, a youth parliament would constitute a forum for discussion. The young of today have much to say. They want to be heard and they are heard. In the universities, student committees demand joint management, joint government. Everywhere, youth wants to be heard. However, on political matters, they have no outlets except through young people political associations across the country. Yet those associations are based on political partisanship.

Now, that youth parliament would offer the young man or the young woman who wishes

3388 COMMONS

Youth Extension Program to discuss politics in a non partisan fashion, a forum, a place from which to put their opinions before the land.

Likewise, let us not forget that this youth parliament could constitute a source of new ideas. The present government has already innovated since it has come to power and it will blaze even newer trails.

There is talk of parliamentary reform, of many things to come. Still, let us not forget that it is up to the people to bring new ideas to the fore, and if that is so, on whom can we bank more than on the young people, on those who are never content with the status quo and who wish to challenge everything and everybody.

To my mind, a model parliament, a youth parliament, could be a source of new ideas which could help Canadian administrators to modernize both present structures and plans.

In addition, a model parliament, a youth parliament could perhaps become a means of action. Our young people-let us face it-do not have any very specific mode of action when it comes to achieving their ambitions from a political point of view. And so, we see them demonstrating, marching, walking about with placards, at times even indulging in violence. That violence we witness comes from somewhere; it stems from a deep feeling of frustration in the young people who have no means of action. They see no other means than that, so they resort to the most obvious: violence and demonstrations which threaten law and order.

A youth parliament could channel those energies and offer, at long last, to our young people, bubbling over with energy, an outlet through which they might give vent to their ideas and achieve their objectives.

Finally, looking at the shape of things to come, we see that we will soon have to revise the Canadian constitution. We will have to bring the people of Canada to accept upheavals. We will have to change an aging constitution, over a hundred years old, which hardly anyone understands completely.

Has the time now not come to support a project such as the youth parliament so that the people can develop an interest in public affairs? They will soon have to decide what constitution we will need for our second centenary, for constitutions do not change often. Now, if the people are to choose the men who will lead the government and make decisions, if the people have perhaps to vote by referendum on some aspects of the constitution-this, we do not know yet-today is the

[Mr. Guilbault.l

DEBATES December 2, 1968

time to stir their interest at grass roots, level by stirring the interest of the young people and setting up a youth parliament.

I should like to refer to a term used during the election campaign: We should have a policy of participation. Well, the policy of participation can no doubt exist in many ways, but this youth parliament suggested by the hon. member seems to me a good starting point and, before we involve all the people in the participatory process we should start with political education and this youth parliament seems to me a good way of going about it.

The concept of a youth parliament, Mr. Speaker, is one which has tremendous potential for beneficial results. Each year hundreds of young Canadians would be able to return to their homes in the various parts of our nation having had first hand experience of the workings of federal government. They would be able to communicate to their communities their own newly awakened enthusiasm and knowledge concerning our tradition of federal parliamentary government. This is why I would like this house to underwrite the motion.

[DOT] (6:50 p.m.)

Topic:   YOUTH EXTENSION PROGRAM
Subtopic:   SUGGESTED PROMOTION OF INTEREST IN PARLIAMENT AND THE CONSTITUTION
Permalink

December 2, 1968