March 17, 1978

?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
PC

Heath Nelson Macquarrie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macquarrie:

It is not for me to give advice to the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) in the twilight of my political career, but if I were forced to do so I would say this to him. The people of Windsor and many hundreds of thousands of Canadians cannot understand why the hon. gentleman is not in the cabinet.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
PC

Heath Nelson Macquarrie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macquarrie:

He has abilities and capabilities to spare, once you even him up with the present members. That is the only nasty thing I will say. It is not meant to be nasty; it is a tribute to my hon. friend from Prince Edward Island, and if the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) takes that advice and my party loses ground, then we will charge it up to my professorial rather than my political posture.

I am very pleased with the leadership the hon. member has given to this matter, and I am very disheartened by what the government has done about it. In my couple of decades here I have noted that there is a great tendency on the part of this government, if there is something developed by a private member which wins acceptance in parliament or in the country, immediately to cut off that initiative of the private member and to produce a bill.

I remember that time after time my very dear friend the Liberal member for Cochrane (Mr. Stewart) produced bills to get the likenesses of Canadian prime ministers on the currency of our country. God help us, it is nearly time that that was done. He also introduced a bill to get the flag of Canada into this chamber. His bills were always talked out or ignored. I was sitting in the House when the then minister of finance stood up without even consulting the hon. member for Cochrane and said that the government would bring out an issue of currency with Laurier on the five dollar bill and John A. Macdonald on the ten. I think that is very suitable because when you buy a bottle of rum, you need a ten dollar bill, and I always use a John A. Macdonald bill. I think I am being very

historic as well as gustatorily correct. I am told Borden is on the one hundred dollar bill-I have not seen one-and that Mackenzie King is on the fifty. We should have done that long ago.

We Canadians have been reluctant to let our Canadianism show. I went to school in the United States in grade one. Perhaps that is where I went astray. Abe Lincoln was there, and George Washington was there. I was taught exactly how to salute the flag, what to do with my hand and what words to say, and I can say them yet. But will we give John A. Macdonald credit? Will we give Laurier a chance? Will we honour Borden? Will we respectfully give credit to the great men who brought into being a great country?

I have studied-and the hon. member is a great scholar- the nation builders of the world. I have taught in university about Cavour, Mazzini, Bismarck and all the rest of them. But our founding fathers do not have to take second place to any statesmen in the world.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
PC

Heath Nelson Macquarrie

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Macquarrie:

The task which faced Macdonald, Brown, Cartier and McGee was enormously difficult. The challenge was tremendous and horrendous, but they overcame it. I often say, and I am sure my hon. friend agrees with me, that we are unworthy successors if we allow what those men created to disappear. Surely to God on this St. Patrick's Day-that Scottish born saint whom we all honour-we must realize that bringing this country into being was far more difficult than keeping it together in a time of advanced communication. In 1864-and it is wonderful that I am following the hon. member because Canada began in Charlottetown, the cradle of confederation-the problems of communication and transportation were enormous and difficult. The people did not know one another. It was reported in a very distinguished Nova Scotia newspaper that maritimers did not know many Canadians, and the few they did know they did not like.

However, it took people like Macdonald and Brown to build Canada. Brown even started to drink during his visit to Charlottetown. We are very proud of that. He had quite a good time. He probably relaxed for the first time in his life. All these people decided that the ideal of the country was very important. Yet we are reluctant to honour Macdonald. We are reluctant to have likenesses of these men on our coins. We are totally unmindful of Cartier. Having studied a good deal of history I often wonder what might have happened had Macdonald died before Cartier and Cartier had become the leader of our party. If that had happened, today we would be what I think we should be, the favourites of the province of Quebec. However, that did not happen. These men were great figures. Only recently have we even mustered up the courage to put on the stamps of the nation the likenesses of wonderful men like Mr. Pearson, Mr. St. Laurent and a man I did not like very much but admired greatly, Mr. Bennett. These people were

March 17, 1978

leaders. I thought that the hon. member who has just spoken did an excellent job in integrating all our various interests.

For 15 years I have been pleading in this House for a day to remember John A. Macdonald, the father of our country. He was the outstanding architect of Confederation. He was not the only one, but the outstanding one. In consultation with the hon. member I was prepared to forget that John A. was born on January 11, which is a rather bad time, ten days after New Year's Day. John A. was a Scotsman. He knew all about hogmanay. It took him about ten days to recover. We were prepared to move it on into February. We talked it over with the hon. member for York-Simcoe (Mr. Stevens) who-please, God-may be Minister of Finance before the year is out, and we all agreed. There was a very good discussion and a consensus in the Standing Committee on Justice and Legal Affairs which, if I am right, was then chaired by His Honour Mr. Speaker. That, in my judgment, was parliament working at its best. It is unfortunate that here today there is not a single cabinet minister I can address this remark to, but I think it behooves the executive to note occasionally the consensus and the will of the people's representatives.

I think it was quite unbecoming, improper and unnecessary for the Secretary of State (Mr. Roberts) to pre-empt the hon. member and the rest of us, and even more unbecoming, if I may use that kind of garbled English-and I do not often do that-for him then to renege on his own interference. We do not have the holiday. We have put the consensus of parliament into discard, and that I find totally reprehensible. At a time when it was more important than ever before that this institution be well regarded by the public which it represents, the government did a double disservice not only to the hon. member, to me, to the hon. member for York-Simcoe and to Sir John A. Macdonald, but also to the parliamentary institution itself. For that I think they deserve the harshest condemnation, and I hope they will take advice and not continue this practice which I have indicated. I mentioned the hon. member for Cochrane, but it has happened many times. Perhaps the most important hour in this parliament is the private members' hour, when we do not listen to the orders of our beloved friends, my highly regarded whip on my right and the House leader, and when members who are here because people sent them here decide what they are going to talk about and what they are going to say. Because representative government is older than responsible government, I think the emphasis should be on that private members' hour.

The learned and hon. member who has just spoken rendered a great service by making a good, earnest and sensitive representation on behalf of people. He is a very courageous committee chairman. He is sensitive to very hot public issues, if I may say so. I applaud him for his leadership.

Heritage Day

I never make long speeches. Perhaps my speeches are longer than I think. I believe I am to be followed by the venerable hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles). He is the chancellor of an outstanding university which has still not offered me a degree. As a Scot, I can say that I am proud we gave the Irish St. Patrick. I am very mindful of where my strength came from. I remember the many Irish Prince Edward Islanders who voted for me over the years. I was happy to have an opportunity to follow my fellow islander, the distinguished hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. MacGuigan). I am happy to support him in his endeavours to establish a national heritage day.

I am not afraid Canada will fall apart if another holiday is celebrated. Is our economy so frail? Are our people so weak? Are things so bad that if one more holiday occurs, the entire country will go to hell? I cannot believe it. I am interested in greater productivity during working days. I discount the days people do not work. There is no reason why a highly developed country like Canada, with its advanced technology and albeit lousy government, cannot afford a holiday every month.

We must celebrate and honour our native people. We must honour discovery day. We must honour Sir John A. Macdonald. Then we can honour Sir Wilfred Laurier, Sir Robert Borden and even Mackenzie King, God forgive me. There have been many tremendous Canadians. There was Dr. Wilder Penfield, who was probably one of the ablest and most brilliant men the world ever produced. There was Dr. Bethune. Also there is Dr. McClure, who is still living. He was the former moderator of the United Church of Canada. There are scores of people who should be honoured by us for one day. We should stand aside and honour these people who make up our heritage.

If I were greedy and wanted to use up more time, I could name many people. I could talk about Senator Cairine Wilson, Nellie McClung, C. G. D. Roberts, the hon. member for Halifax (Mr. Stanfield), C. D. Howe, Charles Tupper, M. J. Coldwell and J. S. Woodsworth. It would be exciting, imaginative and valuable to have a national heritage day. As was suggested by the hon. member, from year to year a Canadian could be chosen to receive honour. We could survive for 100 years and not be required to use the same list twice. I will not live for 100 years, because I am too intemperate.

While I condemn the government for its niggardly action and their even more reprehensible reaction, I commend and support the measure before the House.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, the quality of debate that we have on Friday afternoons leads me to make the suggestion that perhaps we should use the power of parliament to declare five days of the week to be Friday. We could have delightful debates. Today we passed two or three bills. Perhaps everything would become better and more productive around here if every sitting day was a Friday.

March 17, 1978

Heritage Day

After listening to two Prince Edward Islanders speaking with their usual modesty, I confess I began to wonder what right a Canadian from another part of the country might have to take part in this debate. But I realized I could boast of my New Brunswick and Nova Scotian ancestry. That gets me into the picture.

Also I noticed that this is a day of accolades. They are being handed out all over the place. I want to join in on some of them. Before I join in on the accolades to the living, I should like to indicate that I enjoyed the manner in which the hon. member for Hillsborough (Mr. Macquarrie) referred to great names in Canadian history. He started away back in our history and got to the era of Borden. Then he picked up with Bennett, but he missed one in between. The second time around, he decided that he should mention Mackenzie King in order to save his soul.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
?

An hon. Member:

Mackenzie King probably heard him!

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Yes, probably he was heard. 1 join with the hon. member for Hillsborough in paying tribute to the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. MacGuigan) in connection with his persistence regarding this bill asking for a national heritage day. I am sure all members of the House would join with me in paying tribute as well to the hon. member for Hillsborough for the 21 years of service he has given to parliament.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

He has decided that what he has done is enough at least for now. His presence in the House of Commons has been enjoyed very much. The students who will sit in front of him in Mount Allison University will indeed be fortunate.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Returning to the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville and this bill, it strikes me there is a double significance about it. I support the hon. member for Hillsborough by saying that consideration should be given to it. As the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville pointed out, his bill represents a consensus or a bringing together of the ideas of several hon. members. Perhaps more than any private member's bill that has been before parliament in a long time, it is not just one member's bill. As I say, it is before us as a result of several bills having been introduced.

The hon. member for Hillsborough presented a bill to honour Sir John A. Macdonald. As was mentioned before, Mr. Ed Nelson presented one as well. In fact there were four or five, including one of my own. I was calling for a holiday in February, midway between Christmas and Easter, by whatever name it might be called. All these bills got to committee. It was in committee that the idea to combine them was developed. Thus, this bill comes before us. It is not just the product of the thinking of the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville, but it is the combined thinking of several private members from all parties. I wish we could get around to passing this piece of legislation. I see no reason why this bill could not be passed today, so that it can go to committee.

I will not take the time of the House to go into arguments concerning economic restraint and productivity. Those who argue that we need more work and that people must be more productive surely will not follow that to its logical conclusion and indicate that we should cancel the holidays we now have. We have a number of holidays during the year because we believe people are more productive if they have a bit of time off. I suggest an extra day off in the long winter in Canada between Christmas and Easter would be a good idea. I support the bill on that count, and I also support it very strongly for the reasons presented by the two previous speakers, namely that we do have a heritage in this country which we should celebrate and talk about, and that we should tell our people about. I think that on every count we ought to have this day.

Having said that in the friendly fashion that develops here on Friday afternoons, I think I must also join in the criticism levelled on the government by the hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville, and which was levelled even more strongly by the hon. member for Hillsborough, for not having proceeded with it. Originally it was a private member's idea, or the idea of several private members.

The bill in the name of the member for Windsor-Walkerville, two or three years ago, did not get through, and then the government took it up. In the session previous to this one it had two bills; Bill C-30 and C-32. Bill C-30 was to establish a national heritage day as one of the national holidays of this country, and Bill C-32 amended the Canada Labour Code in respect of what was to happen on certain holidays. Private members can put bills down year after year and know they may have to wait twenty, thirty or forty years before getting them through; but when the government makes it a matter of government policy and puts it down, that is a declaration of what the government wants. For the government to have backed away from that in the last session I think was reprehensible, particularly so because it had taken the idea away from private members.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

This session when we thought that last session's Bill C-30 or Bill C-32, or both of them, would be brought back again we were told by the Secretary of State (Mr. Roberts) that this was not to be done. I think this is most unfortunate. I suppose it is too much to hope that my friend's bill will get passed, but I would rather see this bill passed than the government's bill because it does

March 17, 1978

represent the thinking and the ideas of private members. If that cannot be done, I hope it will not be long before this kind of legislation is passed and the third Monday of February becomes national heritage day.

There is one other element about this that disturbs me. Four or five years ago when this matter was under very active consideration and it looked as though it would pass, Mr. Justice Emmett Hall settled a railway dispute, and part of that settlement was that when the parliament of Canada passed a bill for heritage day that would be an additional holiday for railway workers. Those railway workers feel they have been short changed very seriously by the fact that such a bill has not been passed, and now once each year for three or four years they have lost a holiday they thought was included in the award of Mr. Justice Hall.

There is more that could be said, Mr. Speaker, but I had better sit down so I will not be part of the process of talking this bill out. So far here we are: we are unanimous and everybody seems to be in a good mood, so let us pass this bill this afternoon.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
LIB

Frank A. Philbrook

Liberal

Mr. F. A. Philbrook (Halton):

Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the privilege of speaking today on Bill C-234, an act respecting national heritage day. Unlike some of my colleagues, I will be very, very brief, not only because I have to catch a plane back to Oakville, but because most of the major points have been expressed very eloquently so far and, most important of all, because I want to see this bill passed and not talked out.

Let me congratulate and support very strongly the sponsor of this bill, my colleague the hon. member for Windsor-Walk-erville (Mr. MacGuigan). As has been said, it seems to me the main objection thrown up time and time again to this bill is that in hard economic terms it would badly influence or take away from the productivity of this country. That is a spurious argument. In fact, being the only holiday during the hardest time in the Canadian year, the hardest part of winter, it would lend itself to many strong arguments as to why it would improve on the productivity of this country. If in fact it would make people less productive or would take away from our work output, then we should be doing away with the holidays we have so far. We should be doing away with weekends off. We should be doing away with the whole principle and practice of coffee breaks, all of which is obviously ridiculous.

To close on a positive note, this holiday would be good for the productivity of this country, contrary to what others have said. Surely the most important thing we can do at this time in our history, with issues, worries and anxieties about major things like national unity and our economy, both of which are often overplayed, is to have this holiday to remind ourselves of what a great country this really is.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Walter Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, I want to rise for just a few moments as this may be one of the

Heritage Day

last times we will have the opportunity of hearing the voice of the hon. member for Hillsborough (Mr. Macquarrie) in the House of Commons. That hon. member has become known throughout the world as a proponent of heritage and as an authority on the early history of our country. He has become what I would like to call an ornament in parliament.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
PC

Walter David Baker (Official Opposition House Leader; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

When he takes his leave of us this institution will have lost one of its richest assets.

I want to speak for a moment as the House leader of the Progressive Conservative party, and I hope the House will allow me to do so during the private members' hour. There will be other tributes paid to the hon. member, but there will be no tribute more sincere than mine on behalf of all my colleagues in parliament for the contribution he has made to the thought and political processes of Canada.

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink
?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

Topic:   PRIVATE MEMBERS' PUBLIC BILLS
Subtopic:   HOLIDAYS ACT
Sub-subtopic:   ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL HERITAGE DAY
Permalink

March 17, 1978