Hon. Robert L. Stanfield (Leader of the Opposition):
Mr. Fraser, at this time I should like to say a few words to the House. The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) invited me to second the motion he has just put before the House. I should like to say a few words in explanation of the fact I declined to second the motion. I fully agree with the Prime Minister and other members of the House about the importance of this great office. I have attached great importance to the achievement of what I call, perhaps imprecisely, a permanent Speaker, a Speaker who continues in office regardless of changes of government, a Speaker who is completely free of partisan politics once he is elected to this House by the House.
For this reason, I asked my party's association in the constituency of Stormont-Dundas not to present any candidate against Mr. Lamoureux at the 1968 election. Following his election, I was honoured and pleased to second his appointment.
The agreement concluded with the Stormont-Dundas association was designed to find other means to succeed in appointing a permanent Speaker and it provided the association with the right to choose a candidate in a new election.
Between the election of 1968 and the election of 1972, the Prime Minister and I had discussions to explore an alternative method of achieving what I had in mind, and what others had in mind, which was a method alternative to that by which the associations in the Speaker's constituency would be denied the right to nominate a candidate. These discussions were not fruitful, much to my regret. Mr. Lamoureux ran in the election of 1972. He was opposed by a candidate from my party. Mr. Lamoureux ran as an independent and was elected. Following the election of 1972, the Prime Minister discussed with me a choice of Speaker and indeed a Deputy Speaker. There was no difficulty and we reached an understanding and agreement. I felt this was a substantial step forward, and compensated in part at least for the earlier failure to agree on a method of securing a permanent Speakership and a method of completely removing the Speaker from partisan politics on his election.
Following the election of July and prior to the calling of this session I read in the press that the Prime Minister would propose Mr. Jerome's name as Speaker; but there was no consultation, no prior knowledge, despite any suggestions in the press to the contrary. There is no need here to go into the details or to take you, Mr. Fraser, or the House through a controversy between the Prime Minister and myself following the announcement of the Prime Minister's intention. There was no consultation. In my judgment, in the absence of such consultation, this was a substantial step backward from the position we had achieved through 1968 and 1972.
Mr. Fraser, I can hardly exaggerate my personal disappointment at this turn of events. In these circumstances, as I told the Prime Minister, I could not second the nomination of Mr. Jerome. Mr. Jerome, of course, will receive the full co-operation of myself and members of my party as he discharges his difficult and very important responsibilities of presiding over this House. I hope, as the
September 30, 1974
Prime Minister has indicated here this morning, that we can again take up the question of achieving a permanent Speakership totally removed from partisan politics once a Speaker has been chosen for this high office by this House.
Subtopic: ELECTION OF SPEAKER