Mr. Alex Patterson (Fraser Valley East):
Mr. Speaker, I did speak on the measure once this evening, but we are now considering a further amendment and I have a few observations in connection with it. First, the Government's claim has been that the Bill must be passed in order to facilitate the holding of the Calgary games. The inference is that without the support of the Bill, the games are in jeopardy. However, I would submit that everyone knows that that is not true. The same serious argument was used by the Government in forcing the Crow Bill through the House. In its argumentation it stated that if the transportation system was to be upgraded, the statutory Crow rate had to go because, through the change that it was proposing, the money would be forthcoming to
assist the railway companies in upgrading and providing a better transportation system for Canada. I think everyone knows that that was not true. Everyone was in favour of the upgrading of our transportation system.
We think back to the days when a certain Minister of Transport said that the transportation system was a mess. The same could be said today because we remember the attempts of the railway companies to discourage passenger travel by making it almost impossible to make connections at various out of the way points and by using other techniques as well. We are still facing a situation in which the transportation system is inadequate to fulfill the purpose for which it was originally set in place. However, I would suggest that there are other options open to the transportation system than the method and the route that the Government was following in trying to destroy the statutory freight rates.
We are faced with the same situation again involving a very laudable project namely, the Calgary Olympics. I do not suppose anyone objects to the holding of the Calgary Olympics. I would say that it is a possibility that the greatest percentage of the people of Canada think it is a good idea, even though they may not be sports-minded. They say it is a good idea to encourage our athletes to participate in competition with those from other countries, and they would like to see it go ahead. However, now I say that the Government in implying that unless this particular measure goes through and the sports pool is set up, those games are in jeopardy. However, we all know, in and around this place, that if the Government wants to do something, it gets some money somewhere. If it wants to prop up an ailing industry, and many times some of its own followers can help it out in a tought spot, it can get the money all right. It can go and borrow and does not mind doing it at all. Yet if we are to have the Olympics, it says that we cannot do it that way. It says that we must put in a sports pool and get the money out of those people who are poor and hard up yet desperate to make a dollar in order to better their economic condition and so they will take a chance on buying tickets.
The Government is hypocritical in its attitude, in its proclamations, in its announcements, because it knows very well that there are other avenues that it can tap in order to ensure the holding of the Calgary Olympics. It can do so without forcing the Bill through the House as it is endeavouring to do at the present time.
There has been a question raised as to whether it is a lottery or a sports pool, or just what it is. However, we all know that it is just a gambling device. I would like to draw attention to the following statement. It was the concluding words of the joint Parliamentary Committee on Capital Punishment and Lotteries in the report which was made on July 31, 1956. It concluded with a very interesting statement:
That no useful purpose could be achieved by the institution of state lottery in Canada. It considered that the proper role of the state is to control and regulate such gambling activity as is permitted to private citizens by the general law, and
June 27, 1983
that it is not appropriate for the state to provide facilities for gambling to the public. The committee includes, in the prohibition of state lotteries in Canada, those which might be operated by provincial and municipal Governments as well as the federal Government.
We see that the joint committee that was studying this particular activity as well as others, came to the conclusion that this was no place for the federal Government to move in and establish a national gambling facility in order to try to finance operations.
This particular amendment with which we are dealing now concerns the activities in the following fields: the arts and culture, fitness and amateur sport, medical health and research, the Winter Olympic games to be held in Calgary, and worthy capital projects of national interest in fields described in other paragraphs.
As we look at this particular matter, the Government is arguing against itself when it says that the Olympics will not take place unless this is set up. However, it has listed the Olympics as number four in its priority projects that could expect funding from this particular facility.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: ATHLETIC CONTESTS AND EVENTS POOLS ACT