Mr. D. W. Groos (Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence):
Mr. Speaker, it is very difficult for me not to repeat some of the things that have been said this afternoon. Nevertheless, since I come from British Columbia, which was not an original entry into the 1867 coast to coast united Canada stakes, I should like to say a few words today about this bill to wind up the affairs of Expo '67.
Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, you and members of the House will permit me to reminisce for a short while about those great days of our centennial year and refer particular to Expo. Probably the greatest value of that fair, to my mind, was that it provided a focal point for Canadian unity at a time when our national unity was being most seriously questioned. It also proved to be a source of justifiable pride for Canadians everywhere. It would be hard to deny, I suggest, that millions of Canadian hearts beat faster in those
November 5, 1969 COMMONS
days and continue to beat faster today at the sound and sight of the words "Expo '67". Even the name was new and Canadian. Surely, there must have been few, particularly among Members of Parliament, at the time the planning for Expo first began, who did not expect it would cost money to finish the job properly-more money than was originally anticipated.
[DOT] (5:30 p.m.)
It was a gigantic undertaking which lay before the creators of the fair. They had to build, among other things, a large extension to an island in the St. Lawrence, and the work had to be done under extremely arduous conditions. I stand to be corrected, but I do not know of a single genuine world fair in this century which has made money. But I take a special pride in our fair because I believe it set a new worldwide standard of general excellence for fairs of this calibre, while at the same time capturing the imagination of Canadians generally in a way which cannot be measured in dollars alone. They said it couldn't be done, but we did it-and we did it within the framework of what seemed at the time to be an impossible timetable. That is something else to be proud of.
There are other spin-offs, and these too, in my view, are beyond price. I am of the opinion that Expo '67 and all it encompassed came at a most significant time in history. Man and His World was the theme. I firmly believe it contributed toward better world understanding-a new understanding of Canada and Canadians by non-Canadians, a new understanding of the world and of our place in it by Canadians, a new understanding between eastern Canadians and western Canadians, between young Canadians and old Canadians, between English-speaking Canadians and French-speaking Canadians, in fact, between all Canadians. We should be grateful for this.
From across Canada, from all directions, came people, particularly young people, to gather in Montreal to see what we as a nation were capable of doing. They came not only to see what we could do and how well we could do it, but to see for themselves how far we had come in 100 years of history. It is a large amount, in terms of dollars, that we are today being asked to pay, but I believe it to be a fair one in terms of its immediate and long-range benefits to our country and to our people.
Perhaps I could quote, Mr. Speaker, some words spoken by the Premier of our Province
Dissolution of 1967 Expo Corporation of British Columbia who, speaking of Expo '67, said:
I wonder how we as Canadians will remember EXPO best? Certainly we will remember it as a triumph of imagination and planning, of architecture and entertainment-for a triumph it most assuredly is. Certainly we will remember it as the catalyst which brought into focus the attention of the world to a spectacle produced in Canada by Canadians, and unrivalled by any exhibition ever produced before.
But in the fullness of time it may be that we will remember EXPO best for still another reason; and it may be that this remembrance will be EXPO'S greatest gift of all to future generations of Canadians.
Because in my opinion, as a proud Canadian, the one greatest contribution EXPO '67 has made to our country is simply this: It has demonstrated to ourselves-not just to the world, but once and for all to ourselves-that there is in our nation an unlimited capacity for excellence.
Finally, speaking for myself, let me say this: I repeat, there are long term benefits, some of which are yet to come, from Expo and I believe there are few in this country who are not willing to see their fair share paid now by this parliament. I hope this bill will be sent to committee for fuller study tonight.
Subtopic: CANADIAN WORLD EXHIBITION CORPORATION
Sub-subtopic: MEASURE WINDING UP EXPO