March 16, 1979 (30th Parliament, 4th Session)


John George Diefenbaker

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Creep. This government is afraid of an election. The Prime Minister travels and faces university audiences. I can understand that because there is some intelligence there, and they proved it by their reaction yesterday. Creep, that is what this government is doing. It is bringing forth major matters of legislation at a time when it is expected an election will take place, which has been postponed from time to time by the Prime Minister because he is afraid to bring in a section such as this. It simply places parliament in the position of being a pawn under the control of a majority government. I would have more to say about that were we not waiting to vote on this amendment by the hon. member for Northumberland-Durham.
The hon. member for Northumberland-Durham has stood and pointed out the danger. If the minister wanted to establish for himself a reputation for preserving parliament, he would ask those surrounding him to vote for this amendment. For if it is defeated, it is all over. The government can do what it will and pass whatever regulations it chooses, because at the end of three days a vote will take place regardless of the merits or demerits. Already having this power, why does the government

March 16, 1979
Energy Supplies
want to repeat it? It is this kind of thing which is causing people concern, and they are learning a great deal as a result of TV. They are finding it difficult to understand some of the frivolities. After all, we are always serious in the House of Commons or we would not last very long. A sense of humour one must have, but across this country today people are asking themselves: "What is the attitude of this government? They give us answers that are not true."
I have had questions on the order paper since November 12 and November 22, I believe, which have not been answered. They are perfectly simple questions. The only reason that they are not answered is that the government is afraid of what the answers will be and that they will as a consequence be embarrassed. Trust cannot be built in this House of Commons that way. Parliamentary underlings cannot be deciding what questions shall or shall not be asked.
I asked another question, I believe around February 15 or February 20, which will be of interest to hon. members from Quebec, about how Levesque got the Legion of Honour. It is just a question because I see a nice relationship between Levesque and his former pal, the Prime Minister. Why do we not get an answer? I asked the Speaker in a letter to do something, and he said that there was nothing he could do. Yet the other day in the House I found out in consequence of an admission that he had informed the CBC that only certain selective things can be placed before parliament.
Another example is the Treu case. Treu was treated like a reprobate. What about "Go-go-Goyer"? We paid out $10,000 for that matter without any justification whatever. 1 am simply pointing out-and it is as disturbing to me as it is to all Canadians-that we have come to the point where we cannot believe anything which this government says. It either refuses to answer when it will be embarrassed, or the answers which it gives are given with a total disregard for the facts.
I simply ask of the minister that he establish for himself a record of an appreciation of parliament not by wave of the hand but by simply saying, "We do not need the power, we are not going to push it through and we will simply permit this subsection (4) in the amendment of the hon. member for Northumberland-Durham to be accepted." If he does that he will do more for parliament than anything else he could possibly do. He could at least show that he has a respect and an appreciation for parliament and that he does not intend to ride rough-shod over an opposition that produces an amendment to a provision which he does not need. If he does not need it, why does he ask for it?

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