January 20, 1958 (23rd Parliament, 1st Session)


Major James William Coldwell

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

Mr. Coldwell:

As a matter of fact, on the night of June 10 the Liberal party was utterly defeated. It was obvious to me at the time, and I said so, that there was only one honourable way for the leader of that party, the then prime minister, to act, and that was to submit his resignation to the governor general and call upon the leader of the opposition, not because I had confidence in a Conservative administration but because that was the proper constitutional thing to do. .
May I say that since they surrendered the reins of office in June and told His Excellency that the Liberal government could not carry on, no party in this house could support an amendment of this description calling for the resignation of the government in order to put back in power a party which said it could not carry on. May I add that there has been a little change in the membership of the house since then because there are two more members in the government side today than there were on the night of June 10. Therefore I want to dispose of that immediately. We could no more vote for this amendment as it stands with this proposal in it than we could do anything else that appeared as unintelligent as that would be.
Having disposed of that, let me say that throughout this parliament we have tried to place our views before the house at every opportunity. We have done that by way of various amendments which under our parliamentary rules, of course, are regarded, I think sometimes unfortunately, as want of confidence motions. I know that we have been twitted and told that we knew that
Suggested Resignation of Government our Liberal friends would not support us, and that therefore we were quite safe in moving these various amendments.
May I say to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the house that we did not know what the attitude of the Liberal party would be shortly after it resigned last June, when our members met in the city of Winnipeg and decided upon the course that we have followed consistently ever since. We have no apologies to offer. We have functioned as we think an opposition party should function. We have, as we said we would, supported legislation that we thought would be in the interests of the people of Canada. We have done that consistently. When we thought that legislation should be amended to make it better, we have moved amendments. When the government has failed to bring down legislation which we thought should be brought down in view of the statements made by the Prime Minister and others during the election campaign we have moved amendments along the lines of those promises that were made in April, May and June of last year. That has been our consistent policy; and come what may, we shall have no apologies to make either to this house or to the people of Canada when an election comes around as to what our role has been.

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