April 13, 1945 (19th Parliament, 6th Session)


Major James William Coldwell

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. M. J. COLDWELL (Rosetown-Biggar):

Mr. Speaker, from the general feeling of the house I do not think much more business will be done at this session. May I say, however, that I think everyone would welcome the Prime Minister's announcement that the election is to be held soon in order that the people may make a choice. I do not think this is the time to indulge in idle boasting or anything of the kind. The government which will be formed after the next election must be prepared to face grave problems, in some respects graver than those the government now in office has faced.
I rose really to say this, that there is a tremendous amount of unfinished business. The Prime Minister has appealed to all hon. members of the house to facilitate the passage of the bills, in order that parliament may vote an appropriation, and that the government 32283-54
may be authorized in a democratic and proper manner to finance war and civil activities in the next five months. As I have said several times this week, we are prepared to facilitate the granting of the appropriations. But I should like to point out that there are very important departments of government which have not been questioned. For instance, there is the Department of Labour, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Agriculture, and other departments, none of which has been questioned, and about which a number of inquiries should have been made, and an opportunity for comment should have been given. In my opinion, parliament should have been called earlier. There has been time, however, to do the business of the country, had we stuck to business instead of spending several hours this week in political discussion in preparation for the election which has now been announced, the business of the country would have been much more expeditiously and efficiently done than has been the case.
I would say further that the rules of this parliament need revision. In the mother of parliaments, which is democratic to the core, the kind of discussion we have had in the last two weeks could not have been as prolonged as it has been here. With the tremendous amount of business facing the country, and the tremendous amount which will face the country in the future, I suggest one of the first things the House of Commons should do when parliament meets after the election, is to revise its rules to the end that the business of the house may not be held up by all kinds of often inconsequental or repetitious discussion.
I say the business of the country should have been done by calling parliament earlier. Under our present rules we knew that this situation might face us. We are now within a few hours of dissolution, and I join with the leader of the opposition, with the Prime Minister and with other hon. members of the house in urging that the business be wound up as efficiently as possible under the circumstances now prevailing in parliament. Then we can all go to the country with clearer consciences, and with the feeling that the job has been done, trusting to the wisdom of the Canadian people to choose the government they consider will give them the greatest and best service in the next several years.

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