March 9, 1953 (21st Parliament, 7th Session)


Ray Thomas

Social Credit

Mr. Thomas:

That is right. We will not worry about what agreements were made. We saw the results, and that is all we are interested in. It is quite apparent too that some newspapers have the same idea I have. I have here an article from the Victoria Times which was reprinted in some of the weekly newspapers. It reads as follows:
The Conservatives have never erected a clear, understandable and Conservative policy which the people as a whole could grasp and accept.
In Alberta and British Columbia at least, Social Credit has done this.
As things stand, the only chance he-
The reference is to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Drew).
-offers them is to vote for the Conservative brand of socialism.
I do not believe the people of this country want that any more than they want the sort of government we have had in the past few years. I listened to Conservative speeches during the last parliament and I heard them criticize one piece of legislation after another, but never once have I ever heard them put forward a single policy which would rectify any of the blunders made . by the Liberal government, and there have been plenty of them. Of course the Leader of the Opposition has been pounding on the fact for quite a long time that the Liberal government believes in order in council government. I should like to read an extract from Hansard for January 21, 1935. The leader of the opposition at that time, Mr. Mackenzie King, had this to say as found at page 33:
I shall continue to look with a great deal of care, not upon the alleged but upon the real purpose lying back of each and every measure as disclosed by some of its provisions. That has been the occasion of such opposition as the Prime Minister has had in this house to any measures he has introduced. The opposition has not been to what was good in any measure; it has been to what there has been of stealthy alienation of the authority and control of parliament over many aspects of public affairs.
At page 55 Mr. King had this to say:
To this end it would repeal the legislation enacted by the present administration, which deprives parliament of its control over expenditures and taxation, and invests the executive with unwarranted arbitrary powers, as for example:

(1) legislation permitting the executive to enact measure by order in council for peace, order and good government, and
(2) legislation providing the executive with a "blank cheque" for expenditures of any kind.
It is quite apparent that in that respect there is no difference whatsoever between the two old-line parties. They both like to do it while they are in power and they each criticize the other when the other is in power for doing the same thing they would do themselves. On February 24 the hon. member for Athabaska (Mr. Dechene) had this to say when speaking in this debate, as found at page 2373 of Hansard. He was referring to the meeting between the Alberta and British Columbia premiers.
As I was saying, the two premiers met together and amongst other propositions they suggested a western outlet through one pass which is not the one that should be used anyway, but they suggested it.
That statement, Mr. Speaker, is absolutely false. It is untrue. The premiers did meet and they did discuss a railway outlet from the Peace river district to the west coast, but at no time did they ever suggest any route. Apparently the hon. member for Athabaska allowed his political ardour to run away with him when he made that statement.
I have one more point to mention, Mr. Speaker. The other day I received an answer to a question I placed on the order paper concerning the sale of certain Canadian National property in the city of Edmonton. I was amazed when I found no tenders had been called. The Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys (Mr. Prudham) purchased that property through direct negotiations. The minister says he paid more than anyone else would pay. Well, that may be true; I do not know. I have not seen the property. If he had been so sure no one else wanted to pay that much, then he should not have objected to tenders being called; that is the way the sale should have been handled.
The press reported that one of the cabinet ministers-no name was mentioned in the article-stated that whether or not the minister had received any special consideration hinged on the price. The price might be fair, as I said before; I do not know. The question is, who else wanted the property? Did anyone else want it? In my opinion the price itself does not enter into it too much. It is the propriety of the whole thing. The minister may be within his legal right; I do not know because I am not a lawyer. In a statement to the press the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys said he had been trying since 1946 to obtain this property. It is quite apparent from that that the Canadian National did not want to get rid of it, because
The Budget-Mr. Ward he had been trying to obtain it for four years before he became a cabinet minister. I think it is a strange state of affairs when a minister of the crown can negotiate directly with a crown corporation to buy property without benefit of bidding. In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Mines and Technical Surveys has no alternative whatever except to hand in his resignation effective immediately.

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