Mr. Leonel Beaudoin (Richmond):
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to speak today on Bill C-170, an Act to provide for the payment of benefits in respect of children.
It is, I suggest, the privilege and the duty of each member of this House to acquaint the government with the thinking of his constituents about the substance of the bill now before us. I shall therefore call your attention, Mr. Speaker, in behalf of all citizens of Richmond, to the multiple aspects of the family allowances bill.
We all know that the family Allowances Act was passed some 25 years ago and came into force on July 1, 1945.
Incidentally, Mr. Speaker, I am glad to point out that at that time all Alberta Creditiste members voted unanimously in favour of the bill, in 1944.
As the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) pointed out a few weeks ago, some election-tinged events surrounded the implementation of family allowances. I should like to quote, if I may, a paragraph from what the hon. member said in 1944.1 quote:
You will note, Mr. Speaker, that Mr. Mackenzie King dismissed accusations of electioneering with all his usual skill. That legislative measure was dealt with in the House in June and July 1944. He rose in his place and with his usual solemnity declared: This is not an election promise; I made it clear in this bill that the benefits will take effect only from July 1,1945 and everybody is aware that an election will have to take place until then, according to the Constitution. Therefore it was not election propaganda. It so happened that the bill was passed in 1944 and that an election took place in June 1945. And the Liberals could say: We succeeded in getting this bill through and you will get the benefits on the 1st of July.
No it really was not election propaganda-definitely not. That's Mackenzie King for you!
Now, we all know that a bill almost similar to the one before us was introduced by the government during the last session. It was Bill C-264. It sank into oblivion at the end of the session and the government would like us now to pass Bill C-170.
Nevertheless, there is something that worries me: in the previous bill, it was clearly stated that Canadian mothers would get the extra family allowances on May 1, 1972. In Bill C-170, no date is mentioned.
I believe the government is considering the possibility of an election taking place at an early date; thus it will not be able to pass the family allowances bill and will use that for exclusively political purposes.
I can see the government members saying to their electors: Elect us and we will see that the family allowances bill goes through.
Mr. Speaker, some members opposite are shaking their heads and one of them even said-
Subtopic: FAMILY INCOME SECURITY PLAN
Sub-subtopic: MEASURE TO PROVIDE BENEFITS IN RESPECT OF CHILDREN