Mr. J. A. Ross (Souris):
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) has said that he has heard from only three members. I had not intended to say anything, but I endorse all that my leader has said. I am one of those who naturally would like to be at
home at this time of the year, but I was elected a member of parliament; and I have certainly had a bit of a gruelling experience in this past week, in my humble way, with the house meeting three times a day. Certainly it was extremely important, but we did not have time properly to study and to consider the legislation that was before us. It just cannot be done, even if you forgo your regular meals and grab a snack on the run.
When we met here for an emergency session this week, the government had not their legislation prepared. They have technical advisers whose assistance we in the apposition do not have, and they certainly have a great advantage over us. Even when they were asked questions yesterday, they said they were considering several matters and had not yet made a decision on them. The country therefore will surely understand that we of the opposition are at a disadvantage in that respect. I am sure that all the important legislation that is to come before us cannot be given the consideration which it deserves if we meet three times a day.
It has teen pointed out that the several parties have to hold caucuses.. The government do not yet know what their legislation is. In fact I am reminded of the definition of a member of parliament which I heard as I was leaving to come down here. The definition was this: one who was elected by the people to represent them in parliament, but whom this government did not like to see in Ottawa any more than they have to, until they got themselves into a real mess and then they put on an airlift to get him here to help them out of the mess.
I also agree with one of the other speakers -not of this party-who said that world conditions are extremely serious. But I would ask you to remember this, Mr. Speaker. It was common knowledge that this government did not intend to call us here until the last week in September or the first week in October in order to deal with the very matters we are now debating, namely, national defence and the Korean situation. Until this railway strike came on us as a great crisis, they had no thought of calling us here for another three, four or five weeks. I therefore do not know where the consistency is when they tell us there is all this urgency to meet three times a day, thus affording no time to hon. members to give consideration to the legislation which is presented to this house. I hope that the members will be fair about this matter, if we have to decide it by a recorded vote.
Subtopic: MORNING SITTINGS ON AND AFTER MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4