July 25, 1969

NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands):

On a question of privilege, Mr. Speaker. I have no objection to this bag of fetid wind continuing this kind of speech, but I am not going to allow him to put words in my mouth or in the mouth of any other member of this party. We have said it has been a productive session in terms of co-operation.

July 25, 1969 COMMONS

We never referred to it as being a productive session in terms of bringing down solutions to problems which face this country.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
LIB

Raymond J. Perrault

Liberal

Mr. Perraull:

I could cite numerous references in Hansard where specific members of the opposition stated, this has been one of the most productive sessions in the history of Canada. I am prepared to send these quotations to the leader of the New Democratic party before the adjournment of the house. The fact is, of course, that this has been a productive government with more being accomplished in a shorter period of time than in any other period in our history.

A recess does not mean we are going to hang up the sign, "Gone fishing". It does not mean the shop is closed. It means unprecedented work on parliament hill on many of the problems which have been referred to by opposition members today. There will be a great deal of action in the weeks to come. On the one hand we hear the charge that the government is trying to ram through too much legislation on too restricted a schedule. On the other hand, the government is accused of having nothing to advance. I say the poverty of the logic is manifest.

I had the record of the dates of the recesses of parliament drawn a few moments ago. The dates of the recesses and resumption are as follows: 1957, December 21, to January 3, 1958; 1958, none; 1959, none; 1960, April 13 to April 25, and December 21 to January 16, 1961; 1961, July 13 to September 7; 1962, December 20 to January 31, 1963; 1963, August 2 to September 30; 1964, December 18 to February 16, 1965.

Almost all of these were short recesses, yet this government which proposes a longer recess in also the government which the opposition credits with getting more done than any other government in the history of Canada in a given period of time. During the three month recess much will be done by members of all parties, both here in Ottawa and at the constituency level. The argument the opposition provides is one of the most unusual than can possibly be developed with regard to a recess.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC

Robert Carman Coates

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Robert Coates (Cumberland-Colchesler North):

Mr. Speaker, we have viewed quite an exhibition here today. Probably most members have never seen anything like this in many, many years. During my 12 years in this chamber I have never seen such a scurrilous attack make on leaders of every opposition party as that produced by the Prime

Motion to Adjourn House Minister (Mr. Trudeau) today. One immediately asks the question, why has the Prime Minister adopted such an attitude? I can arrive at two quick and immediate conclusions. The first is that the Prime Minister and his government are running like a bunch of scalded cats because of the attitude they have adopted with regard to Rule 75c. The second is that since they have secured through closure the passage of Rule 75c, they no longer feel they need the co-operation of the opposition parties in order to run parliament. They are going to run it as a one-man show.

We do not believe that parliament is the prerogative and the soul right of the Prime Minister. We are willing to come back here on September 22 and endeavour, on behalf of the people who have sent us here, to secure the kind of action that those people need, must have and have not received to the present time. We are going to see that the government is well aware of our determination to serve our country and serve it well in the House of Commons.

I can well understand the approach of the Prime Minister is this debate. I have before me a copy of today's Globe and Mail, Friday, July 25. There is a very significant cartoon in that paper. It shows a picture, that I assume is a picture of the Prime Minister, through the eyes of the cartoonist. He has these words to say. First, "I have silenced my cabinet". This has been done very effectively with the roster system. Then he says, "I have silenced my party". There was never any great doubt about that. Third, "And now, that stupid opposition". Fourth, "Nobody says anything anymore". He is deaf because he will not hear and is not here. Fifth, "In Parliament" and, sixth, "I might as well do away with it". He has been endeavouring to do his best to "do away with it".

There have been a lot of comments about Caesar and Little Caesar. As far as parliament is concerned, I think it is an institution for which Brutus would be better suited than Caesar. In his remarks the Prime Minister made comments about the conduct of both my leader and the leader of the New Democratic Party during their tenure as premiers of provinces of this country. He made some statements about the performance of Robert Stanfield as Premier of Nova Scotia. I will not bother to go into the details of the Prime Minister's argument, but I will say that during the period that Robert Stanfield was leader of the Conservative Party in Nova Scotia,

July 25, 1969

Motion to Adjourn House every time he went to the polls the people gave him a greater endorsation than they did the time before. I am quite willing to leave it to the people of Nova Scotia to determine the kind of performance which Robert Stanfield produced for the people of that province.

[DOT] (3:10 p.m.)

If the Prime Minister has any thoughts about Mr. Stanfield's performance in Nova Scotia, he should look at the election results of June 25, 1968, not just in Nova Scotia where one Liberal barely managed to squeak through, but throughout the Atlantic provinces especially Newfoundland which has had a Liberal government for the past 21 years. No, Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister did not enter this debate because he was concerned about the way in which the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Stanfield) performed when he was Premier of Nova Scotia. He entered this debate because he was trying to put some backbone in the backbenchers of his party who will have to go home and during the next three months try to explain to their constituents why this guillotine is necessary in this parliament, and why they sat back and said nothing. I want to say to the Liberal members of parliament that the Prime Minister said members of the opposition do not wish to leave parliament because when they get 50 yards away from the House of Commons they are nobodies. Let me say that he has twisted this statement. Liberal backbenchers cannot even hope to achieve this position because they are faceless, nameless robots. When the button is pushed to support the Prime Minister, who is all but a dictator in every way, shape and form, they jump.

If we are forced to spend three months away from the House of Commons, we will do our work. We will see that the people of this nation are made well aware of the type of performance that has taken place-not throughout this session because this was a good session until July-prior to June 27. It was a good session. It operated in harmony and co-operation. It was a session that moved on whatever legislation the government brought forward. I do not say that the legislation introduced was necessarily the type of legislation that would receive top priority by the opposition parties. What I am saying, however, is that what legislation was proposed was dealt with constructively, reasonably and efficiently.

Never let it be said, Mr. Speaker, that this was the most productive session in the history of parliament so far as the Canadian people

are concerned. But it can be said to be one of the most productive sessions in the history of parliament so far as the government is concerned in respect of the legislation to which it gave priority. But there is a great difference. We in the Atlantic provinces would like to come back here on September 22 with the hope this government might take some action that would be of value and benefit to our people. Every day we see statistics which indicate that unemployment is escalating, that the cost of living is escalating and that there is nothing for the people of the area which is better today than it was yesterday. Indeed, almost everywhere we look we see indicators which lead us to believe it will be a pretty tough winter for everybody in this country, especially those hundreds of thousands of people who will not be able to find employment. We should be here endeavouring to pass the type of legislation that will give some hope to the hundreds of thousands of people who will not be able to find employment. But instead, we are to be in our constituencies because the Prime Minister has deemed it so.

I say to Liberal backbenchers that things have not changed a great deal. During the pipeline debate of 1956, when the Liberal government brought in closure, the Liberal backbenchers were singing, "Hail, hail the gang's all here, what the hell do we care". They have not been doing such singing this time. I say to them that when the next election comes along they will be in the same position in which they were in 1956 and 1957. It will be the end of a government that is doing its best to eliminate completely any kind of criticism.

The Prime Minister really has not changed, Mr. Speaker. When he was Minister of Justice in 1968 he rose in this house and told members of the opposition that the members of the government were the masters of this house. Today, he says they are the masters of this house, and even more. He says they will not even bother having a house. He says we will meet as little as possible because, after all in his opinion the debates are stupid and most of the members are either bums or idiots.

The attitude of the Prime Minister is that he would just as soon be away in his ivory tower dreaming dreams of things which might be accomplished in some way other than by having to put up with the inconvenience of parliament. He has now regimented his cabinet ministers so that they only dare appear in the House of Commons on certain days. The Prime Minister said that when the

July 25. 1969

members of the opposition leave the house they upgrade the I.Q. of this chamber. Apparently he has also reached the conclusion that if he can get some of the cabinet ministers out of the house he can upgrade the I.Q. of the cabinet. He probably believes that, since he has a roster system now the cabinet ministers are not much of a problem, and since he has regional desks the backbenchers are not much of a problem. It is not necessary for him to find out from the backbenchers what is going on in given areas of the country. All he need do is go to his regional desks to find out what is happening and where it is happening.

All I can say to the Prime Minister is that his computers and regional desks did not work very effectively when he made his trip out west. He failed so badly when he went out west that he has not yet recovered, and probably never will. I suppose the Prime Minister believes that since he has the roster system and the regional desks, there is only one thing more he really needs and that is the guillotine. Then he can handle the obnoxious members of parliament who give him difficulty by asking many questions which he cannot answer.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

These nobodies.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC

Robert Carman Coates

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Coales:

Yes, these nobodies. Members of the opposition do not need to get 50 yards from the House of Commons to become nobodies; they are nobodies every day.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC

Robert Muir

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Muir (Cape Brelon-The Sydneys):

What does this make the people who voted for Trudeau?

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC

Robert Carman Coates

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Coales:

We now have a new kind of parliament for the Canadian people to see, completely different from the parliament that was elected on June 25, 1968. It is different from the parliament the Prime Minister led the people to believe would be in existence after June 25, 1968. It is a parliament devoid of democracy. It is not interested in democracy and is not interested in the type of action that is required for the benefit of the people of Canada. We, from the Atlantic provinces, listened with interest, and more than passing interest, to the comments of the Prime Minister during the election campaign about regional economic disparity and about the just society. We had some hope that when he was elected Prime Minister legislation might be introduced that would be of benefit to the Atlantic provinces and would eliminate the chronic problem that has been with us

Motion to Adjourn House throughout generations. So, we from the Atlantic provinces came to Ottawa in anxious anticipation of what might be presented to parliament to correct the economic imbalance in this nation.

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

We heard the throne speech debate. We listened to the grave words associated with the establishment of the new Department of Regional Economic Expansion. We had hopes, but we find now that we had nothing but hopes because no action has been taken in the Atlantic provinces which would make us believe that times might be better tomorrow than they were yesterday. One of the first actions taken by this government was the cancellation of the Northumberland Strait Crossing, a transportation link that has been promised since Confederation. The former Liberal government initiated some construction on this project, but this government cancelled it.

Today, we are beset with concern in respect of the possibilities of the base consolidation program of the Department of National Defence. We do not know what is going to happen. We have been given an assurance by the Minister of National Defence (Mr. Cadieux) that every possible consideration will be given to these people. The minister is a good man, and I personally have faith in his honesty and integrity, but we will not be here to find out what happened. It may be, as the minister indicated in the house, the various members affected by this consolidation program will be informed; but surely this is the type of program which parliament itself should consider. Parliament should be sitting in hopes that some solutions might be proposed to offset the economic hardships that follow a decision of this nature.

The Prime Minister says we will not be here when this decision is made. He says we are going to go home and we are going to stay at home until October 22, like it or not. We suggest that anything which might be discovered in 2J months should not require another month for consideration. There is no reason for members to be away from the House of Commons for such a long period of time, particularly when some action is required by the country. The hon. member who preceded me referred in his remarks to parliament in recent days. Certainly, in the 12 years I have been a member of this house members have never been asked to take a recess for such an extended period of time.

11652 COMMONS DEBATES July 25, 1969

Motion to Adjourn House

If there was ever a time in the history of this country when parliament should be here it is now, when the economic difficulties facing this country are so significant. They are so foreboding and frightening that no one could have any confidence in a government that has talked more and done nothing to face up to the realities associated with inflation and economic hardship.

The Prime Minister will accomplish little or nothing for anyone, including the backbenchers-certainly nothing for the office which he holds, or the people of Canada-by the type of performance we witnessed today. Certainly, he did nothing for the dignity of this country. Let him now take notice that there is nothing to be accomplished by getting into the gutter. There is no one in the opposition who is going to get into the gutter with him; if he wants to be there, he will be there by himself. We are not going with him.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC

Robert Carman Coates

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Coates:

I was utterly shocked to hear in this chamber, where there has always been evidence of that degree of respect hon. members have had for each other, the Prime Minister gratuitously and without reason say to a colleague of mine, who is a good man, a tough man fighting for his constituents, that he is no gentleman. That is about as low as anyone can get. We are not willing to get that low or go down into the gutter with the Prime Minister.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC

Robert Muir

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Muir (Cape Breton-The Sydneys):

That hon. member also fought for his country.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC

Robert Carman Coates

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Coates:

His war record alone stands as something the Prime Minister should consider. This is an indication of the kind of day we have had. I was not here on "black Friday" in 1956, but this is another black Friday in parliament.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
LIB

Raymond J. Perrault

Liberal

Mr. Perrault:

Mr. Speaker, would the hon, member entertain a question?

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC
LIB

Raymond J. Perrault

Liberal

Mr. Perrault:

Mr. Speaker, would the hon. member tell the house who was the premier of Nova Scotia when the heavy water plant at Glace Bay was started?

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC

Robert Carman Coates

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Coates:

At that time in Nova Scotia-

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
LIB
?

Some hon. Members:

Wait for the answer.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC

Robert Carman Coates

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Coates:

If you will sit down I will answer the question.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC

Robert Muir

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Muir (Cape Breton-The Sydneys):

The

Prime Minister doesn't even know him. He is one of his bums and idiots.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink
PC

Robert Carman Coates

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Coates:

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that it was the present Minister of Manpower and Immigration (Mr. MacEachen) who took credit in all the newspapers in which he could have his name printed for allocating the power plant to Nova Scotia.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
Permalink

July 25, 1969