March 7, 1979

LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Minister responsible for the Status of Women)

Liberal

Mr. Lalonde:

We believe women should be trained for, and have the opportunity to work in, a wide range of jobs. That is why we have minimum quotas in non-traditional job training. That is why all government publications must stress the diversity of opportunities within the public service. We believe child care costs must be considered as part of a family's working costs. That is why we amended the Income Tax Act in 1972 and why we want to examine further changes to that act.

We believe the pension situation for women must change. That is why we changed the Public Service Superannuation Act and the Canada Pension Plan. That is why we will introduce more changes soon. That is why we have asked the Economic Council of Canada to undertake a major study on women in the economy: the nature of their participation and its effect on their dependence.

Women's Right to Work

We believe immigrant women must receive language assistance and be treated fairly by employers. That is why our work plan for the future addresses these questions. That is why the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission has officials studying the problems of domestics in particular. But I must remind the House, and the opposition in particular, of the importance of provincial labour legislation in this field and the great deficiencies which exist in that regard in most provinces at the present time.

We believe women workers need protection. For example, they need protection from workplace hazards during pregnancy. This will be an important focus of the work of the recently established Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. That is why we introduced maternity benefits under UIC in 1971. Moreover, that is why we are making changes this year to allow more flexibility in using those benefits. We recognize times have changed since 1971. More fathers would like the option of looking after their new babies. Also adoptive parents feel they should have this kind of income support. For these reasons, in the future we envisage a parental insurance scheme which could accommodate this changing pattern of shared family responsibility.

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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Order, please. I regret to interrupt the hon. minister, but I must advise him that his allocated time has expired. He may, however, go on with the unanimous consent of the House.

Is there consent to allow the hon. minister to complete his remarks?

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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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LIB

Marc Lalonde (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada; Minister responsible for the Status of Women)

Liberal

Mr. Lalonde:

I thank hon. members of the opposition for their co-operation. Let me say that the government has recognized in the past and continues to recognize the right of women to work, the need to ensure opportunities are available and the need in the foreseeable future for special measures to improve their place in the economy.

We spell out our program in a document which I will make public today. I should like to table it in the House if there is agreement by all parties. It is entitled: "Towards Equality for Women". We are committed to improving women's place in the economy and society. In spite of the annual concern of the opposition, apparently the message has not reached the ranks of the Tories. When one Ottawa Centre Conservative campaign worker was questioned about the Conservative platform on women, a member of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women was told the following:

You know, you ladies don't have as much support as you think. Women just aren't an issue in this campaign.

If that is what Tory workers are thinking, the hon. member for Egmont has a lot of evangelizing to do. "Towards Equality for Women" is the federal government's contribution to the United Nations world plan of action. The document consti-

March 7, 1979

Women's Right to Work

tutes the federal government's main program of action on the status of women's issues between now and 1985.

"Towards Equality for Women" is the result of recommendations and representations submitted by the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, by women's associations and individuals in recent years. "Towards Equality for Women" reflects the federal government's commitment to fight vigou-rously against all barriers to equality of opportunities for women and to launch deep reforms through legislative amendments suggested by the Royal Commission on the Status of Women.

Through the plan resources will be reallocated, both at the level of policy development and program support, to respond to women's increasing participation in the economy and the wide wage gap between men and women. Women's problems in the labour force will be addressed as a separate agenda item by an economic conference of first ministers in 1979. Discussions will begin immediately with the provinces to increase trades training for women in non-traditional occupations and apprenticeship programs. Economic development policies will be reviewed to assess their specific effects on women with a view to increasing their participation in high wage work. Education grants to labour unions will be redirected to ensure that they will benefit women workers.

[ Translation]

A task force on women and employment will be created shortly under the leadership of the co-ordinator of women status Canada. The Economic Council of Canada will be asked to inquire into the status of women in the economy. Reviews of policies relating to pensions will be centered on problems particular to women. The plan also includes the first steps of an important inquiry into violence against women stressing the need to consult with the provinces to ensure that services are in accordance with women's needs.

'

A national clearing house for information on victims of family violence and sexual assault will be established. More research and program support will be directed towards health promotion in the areas of safety of contraceptives, occupational and environmental health hazards, alcohol, drug addiction and nutrition.

Federal policies will be assessed for their effects on the parental roles of men and women, and the feasibility of a parental insurance scheme to replace maternity benefits under the Unemployment Insurance Act will be examined.

[ Translation]

We will analyse the conditions under which joint custody could be exercised after a divorce, keeping in mind the children's right to maintain relations with both parents. We will

negotiate with the provinces and take the necessary steps to improve the enforcement of alimony orders. The government also recognizes that income tax abatements for child support are not having the intended results. We will therefore consider other measures. We will reinforce the equal opportunity programs within the public service by insisting that managers assume a greater responsibility, by making relevant ministerial plans public and by correcting the classification systems which impede the promotion of women. We will prepare directives to eliminate all sex-typing in government publications and teaching aids.

In all work being undertaken in relation to this plan, the government will consult with the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women. In addition, it will seek out advice from experts on women's issues. The plan will strengthen the mandate of the co-ordinator's office in relation to policies of all departments so that focus on the implications of all government policies on women is increased.

Finally, by informing people of the content of the five-year plan, we are encouraging everyone to monitor its implementation and launching a vast debate on this whole matter.

In the many areas affecting women under provincial and territorial jurisdiction, action by the provinces and territories is crucial to achieving equality, and we will welcome any steps that are taken by provincial governments in this regard. [Translation]

The five-year plan is the symbol of our continuing commitment to work towards still greater equality for women. [English]

This document is not a working paper. It does represent a commitment by this government, and it does represent decisions that have been taken by the cabinet in all areas of activities of the federal government. I commend it to the House and I commend it to the women of Canada and to all Canadians, because each of us has a deep interest and a deep concern about the promotion of opportunities for all Canadian women.

Mr. Speaker, with the permission of the House I would like authority to table this document.

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LIB

Gérald Laniel (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

Mr. Deputy Speaker:

Does the House consent to the minister tabling the document to which he has referred in order that it will be available to the public?

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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Stanley Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to commend most warmly my friend the hon. member for Egmont (Mr. MacDonald) for presenting this motion to the House today. 1 regret that it does not come to a vote. We would vote for it unanimously and with enthusiasm. I thank the hon. member also for his references to a motion that

March 7, 1979

was moved by my leader, the hon. member for Oshawa-Whit-by (Mr. Broadbent), a year ago yesterday, as well as to other motions on which we have debated women's issues.

The Minister of Justice (Mr. Lalonde) seemed to enjoy referring to this as an annual exercise. I do not know where he is week after week, as hardly a week goes by without some of us on this side of the House asking questions concerning women's issues.

1 took the trouble to look at the debate that took place on March 6, 1978, and one of the things that is interesting to me, and 1 was scanning it while the Minister of Justice was speaking, is that his speech today is practically the same speech he made last year. At least, it is the same kind of speech but for one alteration. He spent a good deal of time last year and this year trying to tell us what the government has done for women. The rest of his time was spent on attacking the party that brought in the motion. The one difference is that last year he attacked us; this year he has attacked the Progressive Conservatives.

1 must say that I have a great deal of admiration for the gall displayed today by the Minister of Justice. I want to document that gall. He cited a number of things as evidence of the active concern of the Liberal government for the women of this country. If I miss any of them, forgive me, Mr. Speaker, as I took notes while he was proceeding.

One of the items he listed early in his catalogue was the spouse's allowance. He calls that doing something for the women of this country. That is one of the most discriminatory pieces of legislation we have on the statute books.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

It discriminates against women between 60 and 65 years of age who are of single status, whether single, divorced, widowed or what have you.

Then the next item, or one shortly after, was what the government had done by way of splitting the benefits under the Canada Pension Plan when there is a marriage breakdown. That is a big deal, Mr. Speaker. The minister is worried, of course, about the fact that the government did something else having to do with women who stay at home to rear their children in terms of Canada Pension Plan benefits, and he is concerned that the Ontario government did not go along with the proposal. May I point out to him that neither of these proposals, the splitting of benefits where the marriage breaks down or the proposal that was put forward regarding mothers who care for their children, touches the real problem in respect of the Canada Pension Plan, and that is that there is nothing in it and no equivalent to it for those women who work at home. There is no excuse at all for the government to stand up and boast about what it has done for women and, in that context, talk about the Canada Pension Plan, when it has left out any right under that plan for millions of Canadian women who stay at home.

Women's Right to Work

The minister did not seem to like the idea that reference was made to some women having an instinct to stay at home. We suggest that women should have the choice. If they choose to work there should be a place for them out there in the work force and in the economy. If they stay at home, the contribution they make at home should be recognized just as much as the contributions made by their husbands who are out in the work force.

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?

Some hon. Members:

Hear, hear!

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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

The minister went on to cite as another example of this government's concern for women the enactment of the Canadian Human Rights Act and the setting up of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. I thought that even the gall he showed today would have been tempered by the fact that the hon. member for Egmont had already referred to the fact that this government is trying to get the courts to deny to the Canadian Human Rights Commission the right to deal with the case of the Jamaican women.

I suggest that my reference to gall is well put.

Then the minister went on to talk about the projects for women that this government has undertaken-rape crisis centres, projects that have helped women to get employment, and providing counsel for them. Where has he been when day after day we on this side of the House have been questioning the Minister of Employment and Immigration (Mr. Cullen) as to why these projects are being denied additional funding. We have been at that minister and the Minister of National Health and Welfare (Miss Begin) with this story, whether it is Outreach or other programs that are being cut back. This minister has the audacity to stand up today and cite that as an example of something which the government has done for women.

Somewhere down the line he talked about the jobs that had been created for women. He said-I forget the particular category to which he referred-that there are twice as many now as there were then. Of course, two is twice one.

With respect to the judiciary the minister told us that there are many more women being appointed to the bench today than in days gone by, but he did not give any figures. If the number has gone from three up to nine, that is a threefold increase, but it is still hardly substantial enough for a minister to boast about as a sign of what the government is doing for women.

He went on to talk about the jobs for women that the government has created. The government talks all the time about every job created, no matter whether by a private employer or by somebody in a home. Whenever anybody hires a person to do something, it adds to the statistics, and we have the government standing up and saying that it has created some hundreds of thousands of job in a year.

I will pass that subject by because I want to get to the fact which two or three of us on this side of the House tried to bring out the other day. I am referring to the apparent policy

March 7, 1979

Women's Right to Work

of the government in this time of restraint to discriminate against women generally when it comes to layoffs. It is fine to say that more women have been hired, but when the government turns around and lays off proportionately more women than men, I do not know how the minister could have the gall to stand up in the House and say that the government's employment policy, particularly in the public service, is something which proves its dedication to the cause of women.

!Vfr. Douglas (Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands): His Gaul is divided into three parts.

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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

My colleague the hon. member for Nanaimo-Cowichan-The Islands (Mr. Douglas) says that his Gaul is divided into three parts.

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NDP

David Orlikow

New Democratic Party

Mr. Orlikow:

There is enough of it.

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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

I hold in my hand, Mr. Speaker, statistics which came to some of us through the plain brown envelope route, and I believe that they are from the Public Service Commission. The minister was anxious for us to go to that particular commission for information. At any rate, the statistics are here and many people have them. If there are some who do not have these statistics, I suggest that they apply to the Ottawa women's lobby.

These statistics illustrate that in the professional and scientific category of the public service there are 18,000 male employees and 5,000 female employees. However, these are times of restraint and people have to be laid off. One would think with that proportion that probably three times as many men as women would be laid off. This government, which is supposedly devoted to the welfare and rights of women, does not work that way. It lays off 70 men and 90 women.

If one takes all the groups on this page of statistics, which have fewer than 50 per cent females working-and this is the key statistic-one finds that 18 per cent of the employees, in all those groups combined, are women; but when it comes to lay-offs, 40 per cent are women. Yet this minister stands up today and cites the government's employment policy in the public service as an example of what it has done for the women in this country, and how we should trust this government in the years that lie ahead, especially to the year 1985.

I will have something to say about 1985 in a moment. One wonders why the minister did not say 1984 as the year that this government will bring total disaster to this country. Time is passing, and I had better not use more statistics from that sheet, but, as I say, we accepted this challenge to get the figures, and the figures in my view do not support the minister's position that this government is carrying on an employment policy in the public service that is attuned to the rights and the needs of women. He can give statistics about the additional number that are being hired-and I would like to know what categories they are in-but the moment restraint is imposed and people have to be laid off, it is the women first.

We are not dealing with a sinking ship where the women are let off first. This is an employment policy which is totally out

of keeping with a supposed belief in the equality of women. I think that phrase which was attributed to the minister last year when he said that there is a "collective time lag between conviction and action" is a very lamentable situation.

I have made references about the minister having spoken last year and having given us this same line, except that last year he talked to us more than the Conservative party and this year he has talked more to the Conservative party than to us. I would like to read a paragraph from what the minister said in his speech last year. Once I have read it, I intend to present a challenge to the minister. The part I refer to is on page 3483 of Hansard, March 6, 1978: He referred to a number of areas in which studies should be undertaken and in which the government would hope to make improvements. Then he said:

In order to have a fresh look at these and other questions which are of interest to women we have decided to develop a plan of action or global policy on the status of women. This will detail both legislation and practice necessary to achieve concrete goals between now and 1985, the end of the international decade for women. We have had initial discussions with the provinces on this question and we hope that many of them will be reviewing their own policies and programs with a view to responding to the needs of their citizens.

That is the paragraph which I wanted to quote, but I will also read the next one.

As far as we are concerned, there are 25 government departments and about 100 officials who are involved in a complete review of all recommendations made to the government in all areas under its jurisdiction.

That was a pretty massive operation which the minister announced on March 6, 1978, when he stated that there would be a huge study involving 25 departments and 100 officials who were going to look at everything and who were going to develop a plan of action or global policy on the status of women geared to 1985.

I understand-as a matter of fact I have seen it though I do not have it in my possession-that that proposal was implemented in terms of a cabinet paper being produced, approved by the appropriate committee and confirmed by cabinet. The committee in question is the cabinet committee on social policy which made its decision with respect to this document on December 13, 1978. It was confirmed by the entire cabinet on December 21, 1978, and the document was deposited with the supervisor of cabinet papers on January 3, 1979. It is a very bulky document. It certainly fits what the minister said on March 6 last year about what the government was going to do.

As I said, I had that document in my possession for a short while, and I challenge the minister to make it public. The document he produced today, the little booklet in three or four colours, is obviously a public relations effort to try to kid the people of Canada into thinking that something is going to be done.

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?

An hon. Member:

It is an election ploy.

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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

I challenge the minister to produce the real document in which the cabinet made its decisions as to what it intended to do or not to do.

Everyone knows of my intense interest in questions on pensions in so far as women are concerned. I find in the

March 7, 1979

reference in this cabinet paper to the study of the Department of Finance on pensions that there is a paragraph that says that there are no recommendations to be made regarding pensions for women except further study.

I find, in the section of that cabinet paper which deals with veterans affairs, the suggestion that steps must be taken to establish, equality between men ands women regardless of their various conditions and so on, but there is not a reference to the 48 per cent rule which is one of the most serious forms of discrimination against widows of disabled veterans. There is not a reference to it at all.

I looked in vain in the document for some reference to immigration. There is none. There is a reference to the Department of Employment and Immigration and there is going to be a study of employment matters and so on, but there is no reference to the proposal in the last paragraph of the motion before us today which reads as follows:

(4) adoption of policies that will put an end to the serious exploitation of immigrant women in the Canadian labour force.

There are calls for a study of the impact on our economy of women. We had that statement today from the minister; the government believes in keeping women in mind in the development of our economic structure. Wonderful!

As for the cabinet paper that was issued by the cabinet committee on social policy on December 13 last and confirmed in cabinet on December 21, the key line of which is "get this ready by 1985", there is really no hope in there for the women of this country that things will be any different at all.

If the minister is going to make public that classy coloured document that he tabled today, which is obviously a public relations effort, he should also table the document which tells the real story on what the cabinet does not intend to do for the women of this country.

In my view, there are many ways in which improvements could be made for the women of this country. We are all saying now that they have their right to be out in the work force, and they do; but unless they get equal pay for work of equal value, unless they get equal opportunity at the high level jobs as well as the low level jobs, those words are so much rhetoric.

I think we should take the minister up on his reference to the statement made about some women wanting to stay at home. I believe that women in this country should have that free choice. They should be able to work on an equal basis and if they choose to stay home they should not suffer discrimination because of that decision, particularly in terms of economic security during those working years and more particularly in terms of economic security when it comes time to retire.

When I am through, Mr. Speaker, my colleagues will probably congratulate me for not having devoted the whole of my speech to discrimination against women with respect to pensions, but I am not going to sit down without dealing with that matter. We still have all these ways in which we discrimi-

Women's Right to Work

nate against women. There is nothing for them equivalent to what is in the Canada Pension Plan if they stay at home. I know the compilation of the plan is that it is a work-related scheme and all the rest, but there should be an equivalent for women who stay home, and until we get it we cannot talk about equality.

There is, then, the question of the spouse's allowance. For the minister to stand up and quote that as an example of doing something for women is more than I can understand. There are things that all of us here know about because we are involved in the process, but the people out there do not pay attention to things until the time comes. Every year I get a new crop of letters from women who have turned 60 or 61 who hear about the spouse's allowance and then find they cannot get it. They did not know about or pay attention to the legislation when it was introduced in 1975. I get letter after letter which asks how the government could pass that kind of law that would give something to a wife if she has a spouse she is living with who is 65 years of age or over, but nothing from the same legislation if she is widowed or single.

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LIB

John Napier Turner

Liberal

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Turner):

Order, please. I regret to interrupt the hon. member but his allotted time has expired. He may continue if there is unanimous consent. Does the hon. member have unanimous consent?

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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

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NDP

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

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

I shall take only two or three minutes, Mr. Speaker, as I see an hon. member down the way wishes to speak.

I want to declaim again against the tradition that is still with us that says a widow's pension, whether it is under the Public Service Superannuation Act, the armed forces or in the private field, is only 50 per cent of the pension of the husband. I suppose if we go back to the days when pension plans were for husbands only, it was a step forward to get the 50 per cent survivor pension for the widow; but how can we justify that now? A man and wife live together, build their home, build for their future and the day comes when they retire. There are a certain number of dollars of pension, whether public or private. The day comes when one of them dies. If she dies first he gets 100 per cent of the pension, but if he dies first, she gets only 50 per cent of the pension.

We do a little better for ourselves as members of parliament. We seem to manage that. Even in our case, however, if a pensioned member of parliament dies first, his widow gets only 60 per cent, but if the wife dies first the member gets the 100 per cent pension. There is no defence for that in a society that says women have equal rights.

I say again, Mr. Speaker, that one of the serious deficiencies in our veterans legislation is in this field. I am not only prepared to admit we have made progress in recent years, I am prepared to assert it. It is a thrill for me to have been part of winning that improved legislation. Surely the time has come when the rights of women who are married to veterans should inure to them as persons in their own right. The widow who

March 7, 1979

Women's Right to Work

has helped care for a veteran who was on a 40 per cent disability pension is just as much in need when he dies as is her sister down the street whose husband was on a 50 per cent pension. In one case there is the full widow's pension, and in the other case no pension at all. We have the problem of widows when the war veterans allowance runs out. It lasts for a year and then drops.

The cabinet document which I have seen says that the Department of Veterans Affairs is being asked to look at things in its legislation that are of concern to women, but there is nothing in there about the War Veterans Allowance Act, about allowances that are discontinued, and not a single reference to the 48 per cent rule.

This is a speech I often make, Mr. Speaker, to women's groups when they come to see me. They usually consist of younger women and they are not concerned about their pensions. I listen to them and then ask, what about pensions? I am diplomatic and tell them they are not of an age when they are thinking about pensions but that I think that is the most serious discrimination of all.

It is bad enough when women have a tough time in the work force or when they are at home instead of out working, but when the retirement years come and there is more for men than for women-and all statistics show that the section of our older community that is having the toughest time is women- that is not fair. It is not the equality that the people across the way try to talk about.

I commend my friend the hon. member for Egmont for producing this motion today. It is good that we are having this debate, as we had a similar debate a year ago. I would remind hon. members opposite, however, that it is not only once a year that they hear from us; they hear from us every week and they will go on hearing from us until something is done to establish real equality for the women of this country.

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SC

Joseph Adrien Henri Lambert

Social Credit

Mr. Adrien Lambert (Bellechasse):

Mr. Speaker, first I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the hon. member for Egmont (Mr. MacDonald) for putting forward such an important motion on the rights of women in Canada. This is not the first opportunity we have had in this House to discuss this parliament's responsibilities to women.

Hardly two months ago, I believe, we had the opportunity to discuss a motion I had the privilege of putting forward to invite all members seriously to consider recognizing the rights of homemakers. When we speak of salaries, jobs for women, the reference is always to women outside the home, whether women as secretaries, women as nurses, or women as workers in clothes manufacturing. But we forget the homemaker does a tremendous job, for which there are no records because she does not have to punch in and out. But she does a tremendous job nonetheless. Not only manual work in preparing meals, mending clothes and so on, but also a fantastic job of bringing

up our children. A people having the privilege as we do to have mothers taking their responsibilities as educators is bound to grow, develop and play a tremendous role in the world.

I am therefore happy to see once more that hon. members who spoke before me seriously discussed this matter. I listened closely to the Minister of Justice (Mr. Lalonde) who earlier spoke to the motion and expressed most valuable views and ideas. And if the Minister of Justice took the time to remain in his seat this afternoon when he had so much to do, this shows how important the matter is. I commend him for that. Of course newspapers tomorrow will say a Social Credit member supports the government, pays tribute, offers congratulations. This does not worry me.

For my part, I want to say quite frankly that when someone in authority accepts his responsibilities towards the country, I believe we must say so and encourage him to do more. Of course we can criticize each other, but I believe this subject is too important for us to show any partisanship. Mr. Speaker, I consider this subject as the continuity of Women's Year a few years ago.

I recall with emotion, Mr. Speaker, the day when Mrs. Morin, who was then Deputy Speaker of the House of Commons and member of parliament for Louis-Hebert in Quebec city, was called upon by all members of the convention and all parliamentarians in Ankara, Turkey, to preside over a very special day, International Women's Day. I have already said this in the House and I want to say it again, she presided with great dignity over all our proceedings and all participants showed much consideration and seriousness in all their speeches made on International Women's Day. Mr. Speaker, not only in what we say but also in our legislation should we recognize the right of women to choose freely as is asked in the motion, which, I must note in passing, is quite well written, especially the first paragraph which reads as follows:

That this House recognizes the unqualified right of women to work in any and all fields of endeavour and that it urges the government to set an example for the private sector-

Mr. Speaker, it is quite logical for all levels of government to set an example for the private sector, not only in the area mentioned in the motion, but in all other fields. We may invite our fellow citizens to practice such and such a virtue, for instance the virtue of economy, which is certainly a great virtue nowadays. I believe that it was very late last Sunday night on television that I saw a man who travelled to China with the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) a few years ago. I may be wrong, but I believe that a book, entitled Two Innocents in China was published at that time. And this gentleman, one of these two innocents who are not as innocent as all that, was relating how they used to live in the family home. He did not name the village but it sounded familiar when he spoke of a small village in eastern Quebec. So he recalled, Mr. Speaker, that his mother, though she was not rich, had managed to give her family a reasonable standard of living and how they made

March 7, 1979

good use of things already used but not quite finished. And he gave what I considered a striking example, because I recall seeing my mother do this so many times. When she was breaking eggs to prepare meals she would put the shells one into another and then put them in the oven.

This man told me that when they were dry his mother would crush them and feed them back to the hens to help them produce eggs with a stronger shell. Mr. Speaker, those things may seem old fashioned but we shall have to come back to those customs and principles. We are living in a society where everybody has the right to spend-the more the better-and no one has to save. We talk about an energy crisis, but tomorrow it will be other kinds of crises. I say that there is a crisis among the population, caused by the absence of a cardinal virtue, that of economy. When I was a little boy 1 attended at the school of my village a conference given by Commander Desjardins, the founder of Caisses Populaires. My father let me go with him and we were not seated as comfortably as we can be these days. They were small hard benches with precious little room. For adults it was not enough, but for little boys like me, it was. So I heard Commander Desjardins talk about savings, the pooling of money to use in the parish or develop means of living, industries or the pooling of our small savings. Today, Mr. Speaker, when we talk about the virtues of saving as opposed to wasting, we are considered old fashioned.

Mr. Speaker, 1 think that we have the responsibility to go back to the practice of thriftiness. We administer Canada. We are 264 members responsible for legislating to administer our country, and this is called the legislative power. There is the executive power of ministers who implement the laws. Yet, if we go to the trouble of playing our role seriously and making sure that taxpayers' money is spent as wisely as we do in our homes, we shall witness a change in our country and enjoy a high level of prosperity. I am sure of this. It is certainly possible to manage our country efficiently and more economically. Telling others is a lot of fun; you are not compelled to do anything. But to tell oneself to do it and see that it is done with a view to setting an example so that the private sector can act accordingly would be to me of considerable help to the people.

Indeed, Mr. Speaker, I recall having recently toured Mauritius with a few colleagues. I saw with my own eyes women harvesting sugar cane. That is not an easy job. If our Canadian women had to do that kind of work, they would certainly feel like slaves. I saw that and my friends did too. It is really strenuous work.

Women would go out to the field early in the morning and come back late in the evening. They could be seen with their sickles-

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S.O. 58-UNQUALIFIED RIGHT OF WOMEN TO WORK
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March 7, 1979