February 4, 1963 (25th Parliament, 1st Session)

PC

Gordon Minto Churchill (Minister of Veterans Affairs; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Progressive Conservative Party House Leader)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Churchill:

The second main division is legislation. We bring forward the bills. They are discussed in the house. The third main division is the passing of the estimates or the voting of supply to Her Majesty. These are the three main divisions. Time is allotted among those three divisions. I suggest that there is no control whatsoever in the hands of the government with regard to the time spent on that business of the House of Commons unless, as was done by the Liberal government in 1956, freedom of speech was denied to the House of Commons by the imposition of closure. No one of the three parties in opposition is free from the need for some selfexamination with regard to obstructing the business of this house. I would suggest to the New Democratic party that they should look a second time at the 500 divorce bills which are sitting on the order paper. Because of obstruction not one single divorce measure was passed in the year 1962. That is not the government's fault. We bring the business before the house; the opposition determines-whether or not it shall be passed.
I suggest that the business of the house has been properly organized. Let me say to-the leader of the Social Credit party that when a bill is introduced into the house in the resolution stage, the resolution is passed, first reading is given and the bill is then distributed. You cannot immediately go ahead to a second reading unless there is unanimous-consent. Then you have second reading stage, followed by consideration in committee of the whole house, and you cannot immediately have third reading of the bill unless the house gives unanimous consent. Consequently you cannot start with a bill and keep going with it until you end it, because of these changes
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Alleged Lack of Government Leadership that must take place and the postponement of the measure from one day to another. This is done for a definite and good reason, namely so that everybody has an opportunity to study the legislation and so that it will not be rushed through the house with a lack of careful attention. Hence when the question is asked, "Why don't you start with a bill and keep going with it until it is finished?", my answer is that it just cannot be done. The situation is the same with regard to other matters. You Cannot have estimates on Monday and Tuesday without a motion to go into supply, unless there is unanimous consent to dispense with it. The rules set these things out. They impose a certain restriction on freedom of action in arranging the order of business. That is why the procedure is sometimes a little bit confusing to people who are new to this institution.
I suggest that the leader of the Social Credit party, in introducing his amendment, has failed to recognize the things that have been done in arranging the order of business of this house. When he suggests there has not been a positive program of follow-up action respecting many things passed in this parliament and earlier parliaments, I suggest that he is overlooking the five and a half year record of the best and most comprehensive legislation ever passed by any government in the history of the country. He is brushing to one side the whole agricultural program that has been put on the statute books and made effective over the years, cash advances for farm stored grain and the stabilization of prices of farm products. He is overlooking the Export Credits Insurance Act under which the amount of money available has been doubled and redoubled in size over the years, all done by legislation to stimulate our export trade. He is overlooking the program of winter works which has done more to afford employment in the wintertime than any program ever devised by any government.
He talks about not following up legislation. What about the vocational training program? Technical schools are being built right across the country to provide training facilities for our young people. He talks about not following up our program. What about the National Housing Act, the tremendous amendments made to that act and the enormous number of houses built year after year in this country? The list of valuable legislation placed on the statute books in the last five and a half years would take me a whole hour to recite and it would be so easy to point out how effective has been the positive action followed as a result of these statutes.
Give us a chance with the legislation this year. The Atlantic development board bill was passed just before Christmas after some

debate. The board has been set up. We are waiting to get the national economic development board in operation, but the house has seen fit to spend four days on that bill within the last two weeks. The national economic development board is one of the long range projects for the future. We are prepared to move ahead with it if we are given the opportunity.
So it goes down the line. The legislation that set up the national energy board is another example, and together with the declaration of a national oil policy has brought millions of dollars into this country. The shipping subsidy has stimulated shipyards throughout the country. All of these things are based on legislation. When the leader of the Social Credit party says "why do you not follow up your legislation with positive action" he has forgotten completely the change in the status of living of our old age pensioners, the change for the better with regard to our disability pensioners and those receiving war veterans allowances and the change for the better in our hospitals across the country.
All of these things are founded upon legislation passed by parliament. If parliament will get down to business and pass the legislation we have ready for it there will be further positive action. Last year the War Veterans Allowance Act was amended. There are 50,000 war veterans on farms across this country who are helped by this legislation. The Farm Credit Corporation was set up by legislation just a year or two ago and thousands of farmers are benefiting from it.
I suggest to the hon. member, who takes a very keen interest in the work of parliament, that he examine the legislation that was passed in those other years and the legislation before us now and he will find that positive action has resulted. This government has not been inactive. This government has been active. This government under great leadership has done more for Canada in five and a half years than any preceding government.

Topic:   ALLEGED LACK OF LEADERSHIP, CONFUSION AND INDECISION
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