Looking back over the record and recalling the experience we had in passing $100 million of supplementary estimates, when the opposition endeavoured to investigate and obtain information with respect to how the money was expended, I am quite satisfied that it is asking a very big order, because when the Speaker leaves the chair we shall not have an opportunity to
2724 HOUSE OF
Superannuation for Members investigate the estimates. We shall be asked to approve of the bulk total straight across the board.
As has already been pointed out, this action is absolutely unprecedented. Reference has been made to 1945, and it has been said that that was a similar occasion. It was entirely different because at that time no budget had been presented to the House of Commons, and we were advised that we were to be asked to vote interim supply.
On his western trip the Prime Minister (Mr. St. Laurent) must have been advised along the lines we hear sometimes that this is a good budget. But they must also have advised him that if he attempted to have it analysed by the House of Commons its effectiveness would be destroyed. For that very good reason he returned here fully convinced that it was necessary to appeal to the country and say that they have set up the budget in the hope that the people of Canada will understand it; and relying on that that it will result in encouraging the people to believe that this indeed is the one party which is concerned about their welfare, in spite of the fact that the budget will take over $2,300 million of hard-earned cash from the taxpayers of Canada.
I should also like to make one comment in regard to the observations made by the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) with respect to the railway workers. Of course this is nothing new in this house. As a matter of fact we all have sympathetic consideration for those who are charged with such great responsibilities. There has been in this House of Commons no greater champion of the railway worker than the hon. member for Lake Centre (Mr. Dief-enbaker). I can recall the many occasions when he offered solutions to their problem. It will be noticed that when the socialists attempt to place an estimate upon pensions they seem to assume that the pension should provide for everything.
I think it must be assumed that the railway worker is gainfully employed for practically his whole lifetime, barring unforeseen emergencies. I think it is more important to see that the worker receives a proper wage and then encourage him to practise the old Scotch virtue of thrift and lay something aside for a rainy day. Everything should not be left to some central fund or central authority to guarantee future economic security. These workers may need some encouragement to practise thrift but they should be encouraged to build up their own reserves.
When I first spoke in the first session of this parliament in the debate on the address in reply to the speech from the throne I urged
that the government should consider providing superannuation for members of parliament. Of course many laughed at that statement but now that we are approaching an election day I think it would receive a more sympathetic hearing. I think the idea is a good one. The hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) said something with which I am in entire agreement, that we are approaching a future period when there should be contributory pensions. When that day comes those who will be the ultimate recipients will have a greater appreciation of the money they have set aside.
Subtopic: REFERENCE TO REMARKS IN DEBATE OF APRIL 27