Bryce Stuart MACKASEY

MACKASEY, The Hon. Bryce Stuart, P.C., LL.D.

Personal Data

Lincoln (Ontario)
Birth Date
August 25, 1921
Deceased Date
September 5, 1999
businessman, diplomat, manufacturer, merchant

Parliamentary Career

June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
  Verdun (Quebec)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
  Verdun (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Health and Welfare (July 16, 1965 - September 8, 1965)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
  Verdun (Quebec)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour (January 7, 1966 - February 8, 1968)
  • Minister Without Portfolio (February 9, 1968 - April 19, 1968)
  • Minister Without Portfolio (April 20, 1968 - July 5, 1968)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
  Verdun (Quebec)
  • Minister Without Portfolio (April 20, 1968 - July 5, 1968)
  • Minister of Labour (July 6, 1968 - January 27, 1972)
  • Minister of Manpower and Immigration (January 28, 1972 - November 26, 1972)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
  Verdun (Quebec)
  • Minister of Manpower and Immigration (January 28, 1972 - November 26, 1972)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
  Verdun (Quebec)
  • Minister of State (Without Portfolio) (June 3, 1974 - August 7, 1974)
  • Postmaster General (August 8, 1974 - September 14, 1976)
  • Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (March 16, 1976 - April 7, 1976)
  • Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (April 8, 1976 - September 14, 1976)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
  Lincoln (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 569 of 569)

November 6, 1962

Mr. Mackasey:

Mr. Speaker, I was paired. Had I not been paired, I would have voted for the amendment.

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October 11, 1962

Mr. B. S. Mackasey (Verdun):

Mr. Speaker, I address my question to the Minister of Transport. In view of the very heavy traffic on the toll free Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges, is the government considering the possibility of eliminating the tolls on the Champlain bridge, which under present conditions is relatively unused?

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October 10, 1962

Mr. B. S. Mackasey (Verdun):

May I be

allowed, Mr. Speaker, like many others, to offer you my congratulations for your appointment to the high office you now occupy. My short experience in the house has already convinced me that the welfare of our country depends, to a large extent, on the integrity and impartiality with which you fulfil your functions.

May I be allowed also to congratulate the mover (Mr. Chaplin) and the seconder (Mr. Vincent) of the address in reply to the speech from the throne. The quality of those first two speeches has set a standard that all members will no doubt wish to emulate.


Mr. Speaker, as I stand here to speak for the first time in the House of Commons I do so with mixed emotions. I am very proud of being part of this house and representing the English speaking population of the province of Quebec. It is traditional, and perhaps in the spirit of democracy, that they have picked a backbencher to represent them here today, but at the same time I realize very humbly that I speak in the presence of so many

[Mr. Fulton.)

distinguished parliamentarians, men I have admired and respected, men who are sitting on both sides of the house.

I have just listened with great interest to the Minister of Public Works. I listened with concern as he expressed his disapproval of our attack on the monetary system of Canada during the election, but I say in all sincerity that it was not the printing of funny money or our remarks on the monetary system which caused a run on the Canadian dollar. It was the remarks of the Minister of Agriculture when he blithely admitted that it did not matter whether the dollar stood at 95 cents or 90 cents, and that they could decide by a flip of a coin that it should be 92 J. One cannot have respect for a government when one hears such talk from a minister of the crown.

Yesterday I listened with great respect to the Minister of Justice when he sprang to the defence of the deputy attorney general of Canada. With great indignation he stood up for this gentleman who, allegedly, was attacked by a member of the New Democratic party. What a contrast was his defence of the deputy attorney general to his behaviour in the Coyne affair.

Mr. Speaker, I am conscious of the fact that there is a new sense of awareness in the country. Never before in the peacetime history of Canada have so many people looked to parliament for leadership. Never before have so many people looked so desperately for some guidance and reassurance, for a plan to be formulated to show that leadership is available, leadership that will put the country back on the road to recovery. Like a man who has had his first heart attack this country realizes all is not sound with its economy. Its people are bewildered at the fact that there is no indication of a plan for the recovery of the economy, and they are anxious because the government does not take them into its confidence and confront them with the problems impeding our progress.

I am convinced that had the government introduced its austerity program a year sooner the people of Canada would look more favourably on the government than they do today. The people are ready, in a manner reminiscent of their wartime effort, to work, to increase production, to put their shoulders to the wheel if only the direction and leadership were available. Unfortunately the government is not taking advantage of this desire to face the facts. Rather, it is once again assuring the country that all is well, that unemployment is vanishing at a rapid rate and that in the very near future everyone will be back to work. For the sake of the unemployed I hope so.

The people remember the days when the prestige of Canada was at an all time high, when Canada's voice was a powerful one in the United Nations. They recall the time when the economy of Canada was strong and vigorous. Those were the days when skilled immigrants regarded Canada as the land of milk and honey. Those were the days when our dollar was more sought after than that of our mighty neighbour to the south. In five long years of Tory government the people have seen our prestige dwindle until our voice is no longer listened to, and our shores are no longer the goal of immigrants from prosperous Europe. Our money is no longer eagerly snapped up.

Canadians have sat back in amazement and watched the once proud Tory party accept, with gratitude, the assistance of the Social Credit party to stay in power. They accept the help of a splinter party whose very doctrine is fundamentally opposed to anything the Conservatives hold sacred. One would have thought that at least the Conservatives would have refrained from showing their glee.

As I listened first to the mover of the address in reply as he traced the industrial development of his constituency, and next to the seconder as he spoke with obvious pride of the industrial achievements of his country, I realized that I could not eulogize Verdun in either of these fields. The truth of the matter is that, situated as it is on the island of Montreal, the city of Verdun has long passed the time when it could lay claim to any achievement in the field of agriculture. Nor can we claim any fame in the field of industrialization, since the citizens of Verdun have long been happy to earn their living in the vast industries outside our boundaries. (Translation):

The Verdun riding is remarkable for the quality of its citizens. It has a population of

86,000 and is the third largest city in the province. But as regards bilingualism, Verdun is probably first in the country. For years, English Canadians and French Canadians have lived side by side in perfect harmony and nobody will make them believe that in the sight of the Divine Providence, there is any difference between the nations that live on this earth.


Our degree of bilingualism can be traced directly to our vast recreational program. From an early age our French speaking and English speaking children play together on our many playgrounds, and when they reach the age of reason it is very difficult for any adult, already poisoned by the seeds of racial intolerance, to convince them that their French speaking or English speaking neighbour is not a wonderful person.

The Address-Mr. Mackasey (Translation):

As an English Canadian born in the province of Quebec, I have been for many years aware of the tremendous part played by the French Canadians in the building up of our country. Their faithfulness to Canada in the truly critical moments fills many pages of our history.

I am proud, Mr. Speaker, of being a citizen of Verdun and a resident of the province of Quebec. I boast of speaking, although with some difficulty, the tongue of my French Canadian friends.

(Text) :

There are two other accomplishments of the community of Verdun about which I wish to speak very briefly. I am proud of the fact, for instance, that the name of Verdun is known throughout the free world, and indeed behind the iron curtain. Within the boundaries of Verdun lies the famous Verdun Protestant hospital, the leading institution dedicated to the alleviation of mental illness. There a dedicated staff, under the direction of Dr. Roberts, has introduced new techniques and new methods of curing mental illness, methods based on kindness, compassion and the restoration of human dignity. These methods have been copied by other institutions throughout the world for there are no barriers, nor should there be any, to the exchange of ideas in this field.

The last item to which I wish to refer is the tremendous contribution Verdun made in the last war. It is on record that Verdun had the highest rate of enlistment per capita of any large city in Canada. Is it little wonder then, Mr. Speaker, that the citizens of Verdun resent certain political leaders expressing their admiration for the two greatest exponents of man's inhumanity to man?

Listening, as I did, quite attentively to the speech of the Prime Minister I found little of consequence. I think it is a little surprising when one realizes that this government had an abnormally long time at its disposal to prepare its program. While the opposition and the people of Canada cooled their heels waiting for the convening of parliament, the Prime Minister prepared a program that got progressively worse as the available time became shorter.

I did, however, hear him express the desire to balance the budget. This after five years of record deficits-not calculated deficits to relieve unemployment, but record deficits at a time when the unemployment rate was at an all time high in the history of Canada. I could not help thinking, again on a regional note, as I listened to the Prime Minister, that a week or two before the election our Prime Minister promised to visit the city of Verdun,

The Address-Mr. Mackasey as the Leader of the Opposition graciously did. We prepared the gold book, and all the traditional ceremonies that go with it, for our Prime Minister. What did he do? Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister and his entourage sped through the city of Verdun by the shortest possible route and at the highest speed they could possibly go. Thousands of disappointed citizens were then left with the impression that the Tories had written Verdun off as being a bastion of Conservatism. On this latter conclusion I commend the Prime Minister for his foresight.

I mention this, Mr. Speaker, because the city of Verdun has as its proud city manager Mr. French, who has been able to balance the budget of our community for 24 consecutive years. Unfortunately for our Prime Minister, Mr. French is an avowed Liberal. So when the following evening came and the Associate Minister of National Defence (Mr. Sevigny) rose to his feet, I listened very attentively. I have had occasion to hear his marvellous oratory on previous occasions. Here was the voice of French Canada in the Conservative government. Perhaps in his own inimitable style he could fill in the many voids in the Prime Minister's speech. After all, the Prime Minister had things on his mind when he delivered his speech. He knew from the evidence confronting him, documented evidence, concisely and accurately placed before the people by the Leader of the Opposition, that Canadians were aware the government had callously hidden the true facts about the economy of Canada before the election.

What did the Associate Minister of National Defence do instead? He used the valuable time at his disposal to attack the Liberal government of the province of Quebec, the very premier who, by his co-operation, by his sincere desire to help his people, had gladly co-operated on the removal of tolls on the Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges, probably the sole reason the Associate Minister of National Defence sits in parliament right now. I listened to the attack on the province of Quebec first started by the deputy leader of the Social Credit party and continued by the Associate Minister of National Defence and the hon. member for Vaudreuil-Soulanges (Mr. Bourbonnais).

The Lesage government, in the two years it has been in office, has done more to close the economic gap between Quebec and Canada than any other government in the history of that province. His reforms in the field of education, his introduction of the hospital plan, his exposure of the most corrupt political machine in the history of that province will result in an overwhelming Liberal victory

[Mr. Mackasey.)

in November. May we suggest that the Associate Minister of National Defence, instead of repaying favours to the remnants of this broken Union Nationale machine, should instead thank Mr. Lesage for keeping him in parliament.

I can document what I am saying, Mr. Speaker, and I should like to refer to La Presse of Thursday, May 10 with regard to the Champlain, Jacques Cartier and Victoria bridges. For hon. members outside the island of Montreal and the province of Quebec I would just like to take a moment or two to explain a little of the background. The Champlain bridge was conceived and started by the Liberal government in 1956-57. It was designed to alleviate the deplorable traffic conditions that existed on the two bridges, the Victoria and the Jacques Cartier. This magnificent structure was developed barely a mile or two from the two existing structures. The Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges at that time were being taxed beyond their capacity-and when we come to think of it, so are the Canadian people today.

Therefore it was agreed to construct the Champlain bridge in order to alleviate traffic on these existing arteries. I compliment the government for having agreed that it was necessary to relieve the traffic across the mighty St. Lawrence.

However, Mr. Speaker, is this new bridge fulfilling its role? Is the Champlain bridge carrying thousands of automobiles in and out of the island of Montreal daily? In fact, while automobiles still line up on the old bridges bumper to bumper, the new bridge is relatively unused. The trouble comes from two sources. First of all, in their haste to assure the Associate Minister of National Defence re-election, the government removed the tolls from the Victoria and Jacques Cartier bridges. This was a good move; it helped the people. But the government omitted to remove the tolls on the new bridge, which is situated just a few miles away. Consequently, those motorists situated equidistantly from the toll-free bridges and the new Champlain bridge still use the old arteries, for in this day and age of austerity 50 cents a round trip is still a lot of money.

This is what La Presse of Thursday, May 10 had to say with regard to the alleviation of tolls on two bridges and leaving them on the third:

The lack of logic is obvious. It was decided to build the Champlain bridge besides the two others to alleviate the traffic on these two latter bridges. Everyone understood the necessity. But what motorists who, having a choice between three bridges situated very close to each other, will seek out the only one on which they must pay? There will be some, of course, but they will be in the minority. Therefore these two bridges will

continue to be taxed to their full capacity. The purpose for which the new bridge was designed will not be achieved.

The following paragraph strikes me very forcefully, Mr. Speaker.

On the other hand, as the eventual minority of motorists using the new bridge will come from Verdun and St. Lambert-Laprairie, the toll will be for them a sort of indirect tax that will apply to them exclusively.

One of my confreres has suggested wryly that we surmise that this toll on the Champlain bridge will not last beyond the next election. Evidently the government does not intend to cede everything at once, in order to have some ammunition on hand for the next election. But in the present case one would suppose that reason would prevail. The Lesage government in particular has acted very impartially. It has not refused its collaboration on the excuse that it would help a rival government at the time of election.

I would suggest to the government that if it is their intention to remove the toll on the Champlain bridge just before the next election, they should do it in the next few days that remain at their disposal.

There is another problem in my constituency, Mr. Speaker, which I think exists right across this vast dominion of ours. It is the plight of a vastly growing segment of our population. I am referring to those young men-and I stress "young men"-who have reached the age of 40 and are out of work. Whilst the government is now discovering the need for vocational training and is attempting to turn out skilled labour for our industries, other very skilled workers, men who have worked for 20 years or so in the railways, in the aircraft industry and in the electronics field are being laid off because of automation or for other reasons. These men start out confident in their ability to find work. Has not the press blared out the need for skilled workers? But their confidence is soon destroyed as company after company refuses to hire them.

This was not because of any lack of talent but because these men are considered to be too old to work and too young for their old age pensions. Who says so? The architects of our company pension plan say so-these dealers in cold mathematics whose plans cannot tolerate the addition of new employees over the age of 40. Is this situation logical?

I did note in the speech from the throne some indication that the government has finally recognized this injustice. I would suggest that they discard for once the lines of political expediency and use the plan outlined in the Liberal program and elaborated upon by the Leader of the Opposition in a speech in the House of Commons last year. On this particular point, the government did finally recognize the difficulty, and I suggest they should use the few days at their disposal to implement without further delay a pension

The Address-Mr. Mackasey scheme which will end forever this insidious discrimination against our citizens in their best years of life.

When the Leader of the Opposition in his brilliant address suggested an extension of the federal share of expenditures in connection with slum clearance and urban renewal, members on the government benches ridiculed the proposal or referred him to the winter works program. But, in fact, Mr. Speaker, my community urgently needs some type of housing development for the use of its senior citizens, as do thousands of communities across Canada. It is of no use for the Tories to point to existing legislation in this regard. Private contractors, with few exceptions, are not using the legislation which is presently on the statute books pertaining to the construction of homes for the aged. The government itself, if necessary, should enter upon the construction of such homes. Every year, thousands of married couples in the twilight of their lives are forced to separate as the husband goes pathetically to an old men's home and the wife elsewhere. What we need, and need soon, is provision for our senior citizens to live out their lives together in security, comfort and privacy, and this might best be brought about through housing of a motel type such as is common in the Scandinavian countries. Our obligation to our senior citizens goes much further than simply raising old age pensions every few years. Private industry is not interested in the problem to any great degree, for if it is to build and operate these homes under present legislation it must charge rents far beyond the normal reach of our senior citizens.

I should like to point out briefly the experience of Toledo in the United States whose one-storey group of row housing units for older people represents one of the first of the new and imaginative approaches in this field in that country. Early in 1956, extensive research was begun to determine the extent for the need for public housing. I am sure the five points which I am about to mention and which represented the result, in part, of the survey, are deeply applicable at this time to Canada. These are:

1. Existing public housing did not provide the type of living arrangements often needed by elderly families.

2. Retirement acceleration had become an established practice in industry and many unprepared employees were being forced to retire.

3. The number of recipients of social security benefits was mounting monthly.

4. There were no opportunities for elderly families to continue living independently at a cost they could afford.

The Address-Mr. Mackasey

5. Neither private nor public funds were available to meet the need and to make this type of development a reality.

Unfortunately, time does not permit me to go into the Toledo plan in further detail, but the subject is one which I am sure hon. members would agree must be of great concern to us all.

Mr. Speaker, when I walk along the miles of boardwalk for which Verdun is famous I can look across the water and see ships from all nations as they travel up the mighty St. Lawrence seaway, contemplated and executed by the hon. member for Laurier (Mr. Chevrier) during the time when the present opposition was in power. When I listen to our good friends at the opposite end of this house saying that there is no difference between the two old parties I want to tell them this, that there is a basic difference. The Liberal party is a party of action and the Conservatives are a party of words. The record is here. Take, for example, unemployment insurance, a measure which members of the Social Credit party admire and want to stretch a little-in fact, I think most of them are sitting on their unemployment insurance now. Well, this was implemented by the Liberals in 1940. The veterans charter was brought in in 1953; family allowances in 1945; a national health program in 1948; old age pensions in 1951; old age assistance in 1951; allowances for the blind in 1951; and extension of the health grants in 1953; a measure to assist disabled persons in 1954; the second phase of the national health program in 1956; unemployment assistance in 1956; the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act in 1957, and

increased payments to children under the Family Allowances Act in 1957.

Lack of time does not permit me to give a complete list of all the accomplishments of the Liberals while in office. In closing, may I thank hon. members on both sides for the attention they have shown me in my maiden speech.


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January 1, 1962

Mr. Bryce S. Mackasey (Verdun):

I wish to direct a question to the Minister of Transport. Will the government consider the abolition of tolls on the Champlain bridge, should either Point St. Charles or LaSalle be chosen as the site of the world's fair and if recommended by the newly appointed commissioner general?

Topic:   BRIDGES
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