November 1, 1976 (30th Parliament, 2nd Session)


Stanley Howard Knowles (N.D.P. House Leader)

New Democratic Party

Mr. Knowles (Winnipeg North Centre):

As others have pointed out, not only today but on other occasions, sometimes I think it is even worse than that because of the false impression that is given of this place by the interviews that take place downstairs. They do not do this institution justice.
I recognize that there would be problems. If cameras were in here this afternoon, they would have had a great time panning over empty seats. Hon. members will have to do something about their attendance. Also, we will have to do something about the length of speeches. We will have to do something so that when there is conflict, it is audible. There were times today when modern electronics at its best would not be able to report what was happening.
I can foresee problems associated with members wanting to get the floor. There are about 258 or 259 prima donnas in this place. I am trying to count everybody but myself to recall how many we now have. I believe there are 259 with the two who came in today.
Notwithstanding the problems, this is something with which we should proceed without further delay. As I have already said, I can see some problems with the changes that may be required in terms of the rules, but the hon. member for Eglinton is perfectly right that, if we are going to have our proceedings broadcast, we will have to make some changes. So I welcome the fact that this afternoon his first question as a backbench member-it is an interesting phrase, a backbench member sitting in the front bench-to the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) was about broadcasting of the proceedings of this House. I hope it will come along very soon.
I said I would be brief. I will leave it at that. That is three of us who favour broadcasting the proceedings of this House by radio or television. I hope that whatever happens to the motion, that will still be the unanimous position by the time this hour of debate is over.

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