December 17, 1974

MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE

LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this House that the Senate has passed Bill S-15, an act to amend the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce Act, to which the concurrence of this House is desired.

Topic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
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PRIVILEGE

PC

Roch La Salle

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Roch La Salle (Joliette):

Mr. Speaker, I rise again on a question of privilege being assured that you know the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Fortin) is ready to answer that question.

In this House, last Thursday, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Temiscamingue (Mr. Caouette) stated the following:

Mr. Speaker, I would like one thing to be clear, following the question of privilege of the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. La Salle) yesterday to the effect that the hon. member for Temiscamingue had made accusations against all hon. members in this House: that was simply not the case. I wish to say that after two or three days, and after having seen the photograph of the hon. member for Joliette in the newspapers, I asked myself whether perhaps he himself had not helped to pay for the cost of his personal publicity in some of the newspapers of the province, whether it be French or English newspapers.

Later on, the hon. member for Temiscamingue referred to a member of the press who had been offered a bribe, and went on to state:

She did not tear up the $10, 1 am sure of that. Let her name the member, that does not bother me because there are Liberals and Progressive Conservatives who offer them the same thing, or do not, but who give them $10 or $20. They keep their mouths shut.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer to the aspect of that question that reflects on my conduct and that of my colleagues.

Citation 110 of Beauchesne's Parliamentary Rules and Forms, fourth edition, reads:

.. . But to constitute a breach of privilege a libel upon a member must concern his character or conduct in his capacity as a member and the conduct or language on which the libel is based must be actions performed or words uttered in the actual transaction of the business of the House. Bad faith must be imputed and the charge cannot be indefinite. A libel on a member's extra-parliamentary conduct may however constitute a breach of privilege if it is designed to influence the proceedings of the House.

A little further, paragraph (h) of Citation 111 states that a breach of privilege is:

(h) Imputations against members of corruption in the execution of their duties.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I believe I as well as other members were slanderously accused of bad faith and corruption in the execution of our duties and that such charges are a breach of a privilege and if you believe that it is a prima facie question of privilege, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin):

That the charge made by the hon. member for Temiscamingue, namely that hon. members bribed reporters from the Press Gallery, be referred to the Committee on Privileges and Elections.

Topic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE
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SC

André-Gilles Fortin

Social Credit

Mr. Andre Fortin (Lotbiniere):

Mr. Speaker, I listened with you and with my other colleagues to the question of privilege raised by the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. La Salle).

Mr. Speaker, I suggest that this question of privilege is out of order and that, for several reasons.

On page 2227 of Hansard for Friday December 13, the hon. member for Bruce (Mr. Douglas) presented a motion under the provisions of Standing Order 43. His motion was that the question and others be referred to the appropriate committee. Other members rose to speak. The hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin) said that he had not been able to catch the motion and asked that it be repeated and finally, the Speaker gave a ruling on the motion. I quote the Speaker's words:

Since the matter casts reflections on the practices of some members of the House ...

Therefore the Speaker gave a ruling on his own authority while the motion was never considered and presented otherwise than under the provisions of Standing Order 43, and I quote again:

... Because it is a recent allegation and was raised again last night on a question of privilege ...

-we will start talking about it later-

... it does have some immediacy.

Then Mr. Speaker proceeded and concluded as reported on page 2228:

... in order to be consistent with other rulings I have made, I must say I have doubts that the motion is of pressing necessity.

The motion was put forward pursuant to Standing Order 43. It was the first and only motion proposed until a few moments earlier, it was the only one, and it was put forward pursuant to Standing Order 43.

When the Speaker refuses to ask for unanimous consent, as required by rules and practise, this puts an end to the matter at least as far as procedure is concerned.

Immediately after, the hon. member for Joliette rose and said:

December 17, 1974

Privilege-Mr. La Salle

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. I would like to point out that I will readily support the motion ...

This shows, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member for Joliette is confused, he cannot support a motion that was not proposed to the House, that has just been declared out of order by the Speaker. I refer to the House of Commons debates of December 13 and more precisely to page 2228.

Mr. Speaker, his question of privilege was not followed by a motion. And this is my point. All he said was this:

I feel, Mr. Speaker, that his insinuation is unacceptable in my case. I trust the House will ask the hon. member to be more specific and make his accusations in the public forum and not take shelter behind parliamentary immunity.

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Joliette is not interested to see the matter dealt with in this House, but he would like the hon. member for Temiscamingue to repeat the same remarks outside this House.

He resumes his seat, he does not have any question nor does he move any motion. The hon. member for Peace River, who is a tricky man as we all know, noticed the mistake of his colleague from Joliette. He lost no time in standing up and saying this:

I would just point out, Mr. Speaker, that the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. La Salle) having risen now, it might be presumed that he has reserved the right to bring up the matter and move a motion, perhaps on Monday or Tuesday. In that case, he would have to send Your Honour notice. By rising as he has now in respect of the allegation which he has charged appear to have been made against him, he has, I believe taken the proper course, and has reserved his right to make a motion later.

As far as I know, Mr. Speaker, under Standing Order 17, as amended October 14, 1971, it is stated and I quote:

17. (1) Whenever any matter of privilege arises, it shall be taken into consideration immediately.

However, when that happened in the House yesterday, neither the member for Peace River nor the member for Joliette were moving a motion. Both were making allegations and the member for Peace River gave a hand to the member for Joliette when he said that perhaps or probably he would move a motion later.

And at that time, Mr. Speaker completed what he had said initially on a motion moved pursuant to Standing Order 43 and stated:

Order, please. As I have endeavoured to indicate to the hon. member, I take it he has raised a question of privilege at this time personally. I would prefer to reserve on it. This is a matter of some importance and I could perhaps make a decision on Monday.

Mr. Speaker, this is why the question arises again today. I would like to know why the Chair can reserve until Monday a question or a motion of which it has not been advised in the House to begin with.

Mr. Speaker, if that becomes a practice, that would mean that any hon. member could stand up without giving notice to the Chair, as provided under Standing Order 17(2), and orally advise the Speaker in the House and not in his office, that he will rise a question of privilege followed later by a motion. And the Chair agrees with that.

When the Chair agrees with such a procedure, with the help of that cunning fox the hon. member for Peace River, we are left to assume that the Chair agrees with the content of the question, whereas legally or in procedural

terms the Chair has never been precisely asked to deal with the heart of the matter on procedural grounds.

I am therefore, Mr. Speaker, suggesting that the drafting of the motion is faulty.

Besides, Mr. Speaker, the House is in no way entitled to oblige an hon. member to bring a charge against somebody else when that member has accused himself. The hon. member for Temiscamingue laid no definite accusation against anybody in the House. And as reported on page 2217 of Hansard, he himself said, I quote:

... to the effect that the hon. member for Temiscamingue has made accusations against all hon. members in this House...

The hon. member for Temiscamingue said:

. .. that was simply not the case.

Consequently, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is not accusing anybody. He is accusing himself, which is quite different, for that is what the matter is about. I therefore believe there is no question of privilege for that second reason, since the committee to which that question will eventually be referred will have no alternative but to repeat to the hon. member for Temiscamingue the very same accusations he laid against himself.

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, no one or nothing will be much better off for it, since on the other hand the hon. member for Temiscamingue said on page 2217-

Topic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE
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LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. I am having considerable difficulty hearing the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Fortin). The question of privilege to which the hon. member is addressing himself concerns alleged accusations made against other hon. members and members of the press. I think it is a matter of considerable importance to all hon. members particularly and to the electorate since it touches relations between the electorate and the press and the press and the electorate. I am most anxious to hear the hon. member if he will continue his remarks.

Topic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE
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SC

André-Gilles Fortin

Social Credit

Mr. Fortin:

Mr. Speaker, I was just saying that the House cannot compel a member to accuse himself before a committee, when this member did so in the House. For that second reason, I believe that this is not a question of privilege since, as I just said, the committee might only have the member for Temiscamingue repeat the same accusations he raised against himself, by showing that the article had really been written.

Mr. Speaker, I connect this question to the fact that for more than five sittings, day after day, the Progressive Conservative party has made malicious and serious insinuations against Crown ministers in the House. Never have the Progressive Conservatives dared lay definite charges against any of the ministers. They only made insinuations. And now, Mr. Speaker, those same members would like the hon. member of Temiscamingue to accept being questioned by a committee, while he accused himself and Progressive Conservatives never had the guts to accuse the ministers on alleged insinuations.

In the case of the Crown ministers, Mr. Speaker, I will humbly point out to you that it took time for the House to

December 17, 1974

do so, that we had to support inconveniences during the question period, no charge has been laid, no full enquiry has been requested and, finally, the House had no authority to allow or order the Crown to hold one. The Crown may sometimes take it upon itself not to order an inquiry, that becomes a ministerial decision. I cannot see how, Mr. Speaker, while this is not a question of privilege-since the member accused himself-the House could now have the right which it did not have in the case of ministers.

At that time, the Progressive Conservatives merely tarnished reputations, made hints. As I see it, the Speaker could not then, of his own free will, compel the Progressive Conservatives to lay charges. The Chair always considered the questions put at that time by members as consistent with the Standing Orders. That is what the hon. member of Temiscamingue did. But instead of tarnishing the reputation of others, he committed himself. For this reason I do not see how the Progressive Conservatives could blame the leader of the Social Credit Party of Canada. Quite the opposite, they should show the same courage and withdraw their insinuations against Liberal ministers, apologize to this House and to the people of Canada for the time that was lost by the House through their own fault, because they, or at least some of them did indeed receive monies, as is evidenced in Hansard.. Otherwise, Mr. Speaker, our proceedings are a farce.

In closing, I would repeat my first argument, that the Chair, assuming it accepted the motion by the hon. member for Joliette, would in effect recognize that a notice has been served orally by the House on a matter that was never submitted to it, and it would thereby make a precedent. In those circumstances and assuming the Speaker accepted that, I would then intend, using the same methods used by the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin), to verbally inform you that I shall introduce a motion to the effect that all members who might have received monies from these unions be called to give evidence.

So, Mr. Speaker, such a precedent would open a never ending process of mud throwing. I cannot see what pleasure the Progressive Conservatives would derive from that. As far as the member for Temiscamingue is concerned, he has a reputation of an honest citizen across the country, and I have no intention of letting it be tarnished if members will absolutely make accusations, when he accused himself.

Topic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE
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PC

Gerald William Baldwin (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. G. W. Baldwin (Peace River):

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the statements made by the hon. member for Lotbiniere (Mr. Fortin), for whose capacity for flexibility I have the greatest admiration, there is this comparison between the charges alleged by the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. La Salle) and statements that members of this party have made with respect to the operations of the SIU. In both cases we are seeking, have sought and will continue to seek, a public inquiry not only into the charges made by the hon. member for Joliette, but to the extent it has been compared with the other situation we seek to procure from a reluctant and stubborn government a full inquiry into the other matter as well. I do not think the hon. member can make that kind of comparison.

Privilege-Mr. La Salle

In so far as concerns the allegation made about notice given to Your Honour, Your Honour will be aware that yesterday, pursuant to what was discussed in the House on Friday, the Chair was given notice of the intent to deal with this matter. As I rose to speak I saw that the hon. member for Temiscamingue (Mr. Caouette) was not in the House and realized, as Your Honour quite properly said, that we should wait until today to give him an opportunity to be here. I am glad the hon. member for Lotbiniere has answered for him. He did indicate to me that he was prepared to answer for the hon. member, and said he would even be willing to suffer any penalty that might be levied against the hon. member for Temiscamingue.

These are very serious accusations and I think this question of privilege should be discussed. I admit that all too often in this House there are cases of abuse in respect of questions of privilege. I am frank to admit that I have witnessed a number of these incidents. I am sure Your Honour, sitting where you now do, has had occasion in the last few months to observe from that elevated position much more than you did when sitting at our level. Perhaps there have been more instances of abuse of alleged privileges than was the case in the past.

Years ago, when the issue of privilege first arose, the circumstances were quite different from those that obtain today. Today, the press gallery, its members and members of the radio and television media are the window through which the world looks in on the workings, deliberations and statements of this House. I think it is imperative-I say this as the foundation of my argument-that people outside this chamber be entitled to expect that what is said in this House is, in fact, reasonably and impartially reported.

It may well be that there are issues of bias and prejudice, and members of this House may feel they are not being reported as adequately or as often as they would like. But if it becomes evident that what is being reported as having been said in this House by members is a distortion, an exaggeration or an improper interpretation because members are paying for the privilege, then obviously the public, whom members of the press gallery and ourselves serve, will become more cynical than they have been in the past in respect of what are the true statements emanating from this House. That is why I and members of my party attach a very considerable degree of importance to what is said here.

I am not going to retrace the ground covered by the hon. member for Joliette. His statements are on the record and I am sure Your Honour has considered them. However, there are a few arguments I would like to make, as we are not without precedent as to what should and what should not constitute a privilege. I quote from an article appearing in The Parliamentarian of July, 1973, written by a distinguished member of the table of this House. It is said at page 150 of this book:

For instance, scandalous or libellous reflections on the proceedings of the House and upon members individually have been considered as breaches of privilege.

In addition, a very excellent document on parliamentary privilege was prepared by the research branch of the Library of Parliament, dated May 28, 1969, which presents good study of this issue. At page 3 we find the following:

December 17, 1974

Privilege-Mr. La Salle

The privileges of the House are part of the law of the land; they were given to the Houses of Parliament for the sake of the subject, and not for the convenience of the member.

I stress that statement because it confirms what I said earlier, that the relationship between this House, members of the press gallery and the public lying beyond is of the utmost importance to the proceedings of this House and the extent to which its proceedings are deemed to be fairly, accurately and properly reported. I should now like to read the following which appears on page 6 of this document:

As recently as 1955 a case arose in Australia which resulted in the proprietor of a newspaper and the writer of an article which appeared in it being sentenced to three months, imprisonment by the House of Representatives for publishing defamatory allegations against a member.

I emphasize the words, "defamatory allegations against a member". The quotation continues:

Another serious case occurred in Great Britain in 1947 which resulted in a member being expelled from the House and the editor of the newspaper for which the member wrote an offending article being severely censured. These were cases in which a gross contempt of the House was clearly established.

Then on page 7 we find these words:

In the session of 1963-64, for example, a complaint was raised against Mr. Quintin Hogg concerning a public speech he made in the course of which he alleged that the then government's "elbows had been jarred in almost every part of the world by individual Labour members' partisanship of subversive activities."

Later in the same article we find this:

The case arose from a press article containing scurrilous allegations against unnamed members of parliament to the effect that they had leaked inside information to the press in exchange for money or drink.

That is terrible, Mr. Speaker. The article continues:

The relevant paragraphs of the committee's report reads as follows: "In modern times the practice of holding private meetings in the precincts of the Palace of Westminster of different parties has become well established and, in the view of your committee, it must now be taken to form a normal and everyday incident of parliamentary procedure...

Then we find the following conclusion:

It follows that an unfounded imputation in regard to such meetings involves an affront to the House as such. Your committee consider that an unjustified allegation that members regularly betray the confidence of private party meetings either for payment or whilst their discretion has been undermined by drink is a serious contempt.

There are similar statements in May's which are well known and to which I shall not refer Your Honour. Some years ago this House and the House in Westminster gave up the right to forbid the publication of speeches made in the House. At one time to publish what was said in the House of Commons was considered contempt and such an act was punishable. That right was given up, but it was made subject to the condition that the debates be correctly and faithfully recorded. That is important, because the public is entitled to expect that the speeches will be faithfully and accurately reported. If that judgment is challenged by statements which appear to have been made by the hon. member for Temiscamingue, obviously the public will not have the degree of confidence in the reporting of what is said in this House to which it is entitled.

I shall conclude in this light. 1 realize that if Your Honour holds that there is a prima facie case, and the motion is put and accepted, we will, of course, be constrained to the narrow limits of the motion; but I should like to think that in the not too distant future this matter will be considered by the House since we are talking about a move in the area of televising our proceedings. I shall not say whether I will be for or against such a move. However, since we are facing very obvious problems, I would hope an appropriate committee would make a complete study of questions of privilege.

It seems to me that somehow there must derive, from the allegations contained in the printed record of Hansard, the material for determining whether there is a prima facie question of privilege. Either the hon. member for Temiscamingue is correct, and members of this House have paid money to gain some degree of prominence or to have their articles or statements printed or distorted, or the hon. member for Temiscamingue is wrong, in which case he is immediately in contempt of this House for having made such a charge without any proof as to its correctness.

Topic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE
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LIB

Crawford Douglas

Liberal

Mr. C. Douglas (Bruce):

Mr. Speaker, certainly in no way shall I be as eloquent as the preceding hon. gentlemen, because they have much more experience in addressing this House than I have. Since my motion under Standing Order 43 was mentioned in the discussion of the question of privilege, I would simply point out that the question I posed in presenting it last Friday, although it was not taken too seriously, was given my serious consideration because, as backbenchers, many of us who have arrived here for the first time will be looking to the words of Hansard and those that appear in the press as sources on which we must rely.

When an allegation is made such as this, that money has been paid for particular favours, then I think there is certainly a question of privilege, not only in respect of those who are in the front benches but, most definitely, in respect of those of us who are in the back benches.

Topic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE
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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE
Permalink
LIB

Crawford Douglas

Liberal

Mr. Douglas (Bruce):

We should be able to look with respect upon this place. I feel that alone is enough to make it most definitely a question of privilege for hon. members. To my way of thinking, the members of the parliamentary press gallery should have an opportunity to answer these charges without having to resort to the last means they have, which is making statements in the press against these allegations. I have spent a good number of years as a member of the press, and these allegations came to me as a complete surprise. Although I was not of the stature of some of the members of our parliamentary press gallery, I can say that no one ever offered me money and I never asked for any.

More importantly, I found that colleagues with whom I dealt in my close to 20 years in the press media were most meticulous in governing themselves. They check each other: at least, where I was we certainly checked each other to see that the reporting was without bias and that there was an honest attempt to report the facts as they were presented to us. Certainly, I think members of the

December 17, 1974

parliamentary press gallery would like to know, in respect of the allegations made by the hon. member for Temis-camingue (Mr. Caouette), the names of other hon. members who paid money and members of the parliamentary press gallery who received such money. I think they would like to know who these people are, and would come down just as hard on them as we would in respect of allegations found to be true.

Topic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE
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NDP

Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, my intervention will be very brief. After all, you have been given plenty of words of wisdom to ponder with respect to this point. I hesitate to join in anything that might sound like an attempt to pillory the hon. member for Temiscamingue (Mr. Caouette), but it does seem that the statements he has made regarding some other members of the House of Commons are such that he ought to be given the opportunity either to confirm those statements or to withdraw them. It would seem to me that reference of the matter to a committee might be the best way to resolve it.

Topic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE
Permalink
LIB

James Alexander Jerome (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Speaker:

Order, please. If there are no other hon. members who want to make a contribution at this time, I would first of all like to examine the precedents that have been presented to me and to give the matter some serious consideration. I would propose to review the matter, perhaps for one day, and make a decision tomorrow.

I would say immediately that there are two points I can dispose of quickly, the first being the question of notice. It is true that one of the frequent grounds for disqualifying a question of privilege has been that it has not been raised at the first opportunity. I have indicated in some areas of the application of the rules of the House that I propose to take a very stern and strict stand. However, I must say that this is one area in which I do not propose to take that stand because I think an effort has been made in this case to bring to light at the first available opportunity the question of privilege and this has been done in earlier examples when members indicated there was something which came forward during debate which might give rise to a question of privilege but they wanted the opportunity to examine the exact comments. These facts have held that technicality in abeyance in order to leave them free at a later time to raise the question for further discussion.

In addition, in this particular case the hon. member for Peace River (Mr. Baldwin) is accurate when he says that when the matter was raised it was inopportune to proceed with it at that time. That aspect has been resolved, after further delays until today, by the hon. member for Lot-biniere (Mr. Fortin) indicating he was prepared to proceed on behalf of his party leader today. It was partially because of the inability of the hon. member for Temiscamingue to be here to participate in these discussions that it was deferred. I think it would be most unjust to hold that deferral against the person moving the motion. I am not questioning the technical element of notice because I believe the hon. member for Joliette (Mr. La Salle) raised the question at the first time he had an opportunity which was at the beginning of proceedings on the day next following the speech complained of, which was made last Thursday evening.

Tributes to Mackenzie King

The second point is the question raised by the hon. member for Bruce (Mr. Douglas) about the seriousness of his application under Standing Order 43.1 want to make it absolutely clear that simply because I held, as I have on many other occasions and will continue to hold if it is necessary to do so, a strict rule on motions proposed pursuant to Standing Order 43 that not only must they be important but must be matters of urgent and pressing necessity. In this case the fact that I held this was not a matter of urgent and pressing necessity and therefore could not be moved under Standing Order 43, in no way diminishes the importance of it. There have been measures proposed pursuant to that rule which I will repeat, are always extremely important and serious measures but that does not necessarily mean that they require urgent and pressing consideration by this chamber. This is one of them. It is a very important question but it would not necessitate the standing aside of the business of the day for the House to give immediate consideration to it. I think it falls into the general area of privilege and one which is giving the Chair some concern. For that reason I propose to reserve to see whether there is a prima facie question of privilege and whether the matter ought to be resolved by referring it to a standing committee.

Topic:   MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
Sub-subtopic:   MR. LA SALLE-REFERENCE TO REMARKS OF HON. MEMBER FOR TEMISCAMINGUE
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ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

THE LATE W. L. MACKENZIE KING TRIBUTES ON COMMEMORATION OF ONE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY

LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. P. E. Trudeau (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, I would like to talk for a few minutes about the centennial of the birth of one of the greatest politicians of this century, William Lyon Mackenzie King.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   THE LATE W. L. MACKENZIE KING TRIBUTES ON COMMEMORATION OF ONE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY
Permalink
PC

Charles Joseph Clark

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Clark (Rocky Mountain):

Did you talk with him today?

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   THE LATE W. L. MACKENZIE KING TRIBUTES ON COMMEMORATION OF ONE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY
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LIB

Pierre Elliott Trudeau (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Trudeau:

Mr. Speaker, we can say about this man that not only does he deserve the title of great Canadian, but also that the period during which he lived and gave his services to Canada, including 22 years as Prime Minister, is itself incredible. If we go back to the year when Mr. King was born it seems unavoidable that he should have been drawn by the excitement of a political career which more than any other occupation allowed him to contribute as he wished to the growth of his country.

In a sense, Mr. King grew up with the Canadian confederation. His youth paralleled the imagination, the controversy and the faith that pushed a railroad across this country, uniting it in a physical way.

His young manhood, during which his political awareness was shaped for the future, was set against a background of war in far off lands which finally erupted on the European continent drawing Canadians into battle and death.

Tributes to Mackenzie King

During and after World War I, Mr. King was at the centre of the turmoil and anxiety which stretched the cohesion of the nation and its political parties almost to the breaking point. He devoted his energies toward easing those tensions.

He was plunged into the realities of international negotiation where he developed a determination that Canada must be allowed to deal with her fellow nations on her own terms, with independence. This determination remained throughout his career.

He watched Canada suffer the despair and hardship of the great depression, and another tragic and costly world war. When he died in 1950, the nation was moving forward into an era of prosperity and, barring further madness, an era of peace.

These were great events requiring brilliance in politics, imagination in outlook and a strength of national purpose that would persistently prevent traditional cultural and regional divisions from pulling Canada apart.

Take a look at the stature of some of the political leaders in Mr. King's lifetime-Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Sir Robert Borden, J. S. Woodsworth, Arthur Meighen and Louis St. Laurent. These men were giants in Canadian history at a time when such qualities were imperative.

Mr. Speaker, in countless ways, recognized or subtle, Mr. King for 40 years placed his stamp on Canadian political life, parliament and the public service. His tenure as Prime Minister was longer than that of any other Prime Minister before him in the English speaking world.

Today I simply want to pay tribute to a Canadian statesman and politician who carries so many conflicting descriptions it is almost impossible to sort out the real Mackenzie King-which perhaps was a key to his great success.

Mr. Speaker, I feel partial to the particularly appropriate words of Bruce Hutchison who said:

His works proclaim themselves, but quietly. He wrought them so gradually, he who could move so fast and take so many desperate chances while appearing to stand still, and he could produce such drastic changes with a changeless look, that his revolutionary effect on the nation's life was dimly surmised when his own ended. But now we can see that he was our greatest revolutionary ...

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   THE LATE W. L. MACKENZIE KING TRIBUTES ON COMMEMORATION OF ONE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY
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PC

Robert Lorne Stanfield (Leader of the Official Opposition)

Progressive Conservative

Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to join the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) in commemorating the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of the late Right Hon. William Lyon Mackenzie King, a man who was in the forefront of politics and public life in this country in the first half of the present century. I think of Mr. King particularly in terms of his working toward the achievement of Canadian autonomy. As a student I recall studying international relations following the first World War, particularly those involving the United Kingdom, and becoming aware of his preoccupation with the achievement of full Canadian autonomy. This followed the movement forward achieved by Sir Robert Borden during and following the first World War. Mr. King, of course, was interested not only in Canadian autonomy, but in Canadian unity as well. It might not be an exaggeration to suggest that his work

toward maintenance of Canadian unity was perhaps the dominating aspect of his political or public life.

As a young man I remember feeling desperately impatient about any move that Mr. King might be inclined to make, and feeling, particularly, that in many areas he lagged behind public opinion. Perhaps now I should not be inclined to make some of those criticisms. Perhaps now I should be prepared to admit that he was wiser than I thought at the time.

Topic:   ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Subtopic:   THE LATE W. L. MACKENZIE KING TRIBUTES ON COMMEMORATION OF ONE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY
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December 17, 1974