February 1, 1958 (23rd Parliament, 1st Session)


James Garfield Gardiner


Mr. Gardiner:

The question under discussion this afternoon has brought up matters which are of great importance not only to the estimates that are being considered at the moment but to the position which an institution of this kind holds among the democratic countries of the world. It is rather important that the occasion is brought about by the fact that it was necessary to find additional money in order to bring people to this country from a country which has suffered from the fact that its people did not have the benefits of democratic government. The money about which we are talking is money which the incoming government thought it would be necessary to vote for the purpose of taking care of additional numbers of Hungarian people who thought this was a good country to which to come because of the experiences we have had in the type of government which has been ours.
I should like to say at the beginning that the basis of all the freedom which we have in this country and which the people in Britain had before us is resting squarely upon the issue which we have been discussing this afternoon, as well as an additional one. The two principles which the common people of Great Britain in the earlier years fought to obtain were first, the right to pass legislation, and second, the right to vote money; that is the right to tax people and the right to vote money as a result of the fact that people had been taxed. That fight takes us back through the whole history with which every school boy and school girl in this country are familiar. That history brings up the most important charters and pieces of legislation that were ever placed upon the statute books. It begins with Magna Carta and it comes through the Declaration of Rights in the day of the struggles that took place during the Stuart period in British history. Then it is associated until the Bill of Rights which was the final act in order to prove

once and for all that the beheading of a king settled something, a matter which was referred to a few moments ago by the Leader of the Opposition. All of these documents which are a part of our history are back of the discussions which we have been having today and the real reason for having certain precedents followed when providing the executive with the people's money.
I want to say to members of this house, some of whom perhaps do not know it, that my experience was similar to that of the hon. member for Peace River. On two different occasions in my political life I have been the treasurer of a province. I have therefore had something to do with votes of this kind and know what is required in connection with them. For that reason I should like to say that the very nature of the house that we have at this time is such that it does not make it easy to carry on the constitution as we have it. Certain things happened early in this session which are of importance in relation to our constitution, but have not been referred to except incidentally in connection with this discussion. It was said by an hon. member a few moments ago that very early in this session,-as a matter of fact in the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne-I had occasion to address ideas to this house. They were based upon the very matter that we are now discussing. I have been surprised, as a matter of fact, at the length of time that we have been here- something over three months-before we get right down to discussing the important matters relating to the method under which the government came into being. It brings us back to the fact that at the time we had our election on June 10, which has been referred to over and over again, the people of this country did not make a decision in favour of the government that is sitting on the government benches today. The people of this country gave a majority, in so far as votes were concerned, very much in favour of the party that is sitting as the official opposition as against the Conservative party.

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