Lester Bowles PEARSON

PEARSON, The Right Hon. Lester Bowles, P.C., C.C., O.M., O.B.E., B.A., M.A., LL.D.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Algoma East (Ontario)
Birth Date
April 23, 1897
Deceased Date
December 27, 1972
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lester_B._Pearson
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=51c861ef-0f17-4a79-8d9b-0854fb3ef33f&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
author, diplomat, professor, senior public servant

Parliamentary Career

October 25, 1948 - April 30, 1949
LIB
  Algoma East (Ontario)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (September 10, 1948 - November 14, 1948)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (November 15, 1948 - June 20, 1957)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
LIB
  Algoma East (Ontario)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (November 15, 1948 - June 20, 1957)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
LIB
  Algoma East (Ontario)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (November 15, 1948 - June 20, 1957)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
LIB
  Algoma East (Ontario)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (November 15, 1948 - June 20, 1957)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (January 16, 1958 - April 21, 1963)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
LIB
  Algoma East (Ontario)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (January 16, 1958 - April 21, 1963)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
LIB
  Algoma East (Ontario)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (January 16, 1958 - April 21, 1963)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
LIB
  Algoma East (Ontario)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (January 16, 1958 - April 21, 1963)
  • Prime Minister (April 22, 1963 - April 19, 1968)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
LIB
  Algoma East (Ontario)
  • Prime Minister (April 22, 1963 - April 19, 1968)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 3453)


November 7, 1977

Mr. Pearson:

Certainly not.

Here is a further extension!

Income Tax

I asked the Minister of National Revenue (Mr. Guay) whether there were any agreements between his department and, say, the Unemployment Insurance Commission or the Department of National Health and Welfare with regard to the exchange of information, particularly regarding social insurance numbers. I wondered whether this was a method of cross-checking the identity of individuals. The minister refused to answer. He skated around the question. He gave details concerning the improper use of agreements with regard to income tax information as revealed in the Laycraft inquiry, but he did not answer the question. I asked the minister again whether there were any agreements between the Department of National Revenue, the Unemployment Insurance Commission, the Department of National Health and Welfare or any other department or agency affecting the disclosure of social insurance numbers as they appear on income tax returns.

This extension, or requirement, was in clause 75 of Bill C-22, which went through last year, and the record will show that it went through "on division". I was opposed to it then and I am opposed to it now. Indeed, I have introduced a private bill with the object of removing that particular section. It amounts to a bureaucratic invasion, on the totally unjustifiable pretext that because a taxpayer claims not to have a social insurance number he is in some respects prejudiced. Mr. Speaker, there is no obligation upon anyone to have a social insurance number. It is argued that such a person would lose 25 per cent of bond interest when funds are deposited in a bank or a trust company. But that money could always be reclaimed a year later when filing for the $1,000 exemption on bond interest. What I am saying is: there was no need for all this in the first place. I wonder whether the Minister of Finance and his officials, or the Minister of National Revenue and his officials know how many elderly persons do not possess social insurance numbers. Do they know what it is like to try to get a number? It is almost as difficult as getting a citizenship certificate.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INCOME TAX ACT
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November 14, 1973

Mr. Pearson:

This began in February and went on for the next two or three months.

Finally, he said there could be no arrangement arrived at because there was no agreement in this regard. Again, he most fairly dealt with the same situation when he spoke in the House in November, 1956, but I am not going to place that on the record now. There is no necessity to prove to this party the need for a peacekeeping force, Mr. Speaker, because the original presentation was made by a member of this party in the month of January, 1956 and culminated in Mr. Pearson bringing before the United Nations in the month of August, 1956 the general plan that had been worked out for the setting up of a peacekeeping force.

I wonder how it is, Mr. Speaker, that we find, as a result of the activities of the government in the last few weeks, the Canadian people on bended knee, through their representative, the Secretary of State for External Affairs, asking to be permitted to become a member of the peacekeeping force in view of the unusual success, to which the minister referred, that Canada had attained internationally over the years. He did not mention that, while my government was in office, we sent forces to the Congo or that undue haste, without the necessary consideration of the facts in advance, will bring about expense for the Canadian people, such as has been incurred in Cyprus.

When we first went to Cyprus it was said that our force would need to remain there for three months, and it was possible that there might be some extension. We have been there not three months but nine years. And who has been paying the piper? It has not been the United Nations. Canada is the only nation which has picked up the bill. No wonder Canada is allowed to maintain her forces there. The taxpayers of Canada have paid $22 million for a duty which was the responsibility of the United Nations. The costs should have been borne not only by Canada but by all the nations making up the United Nations. They did not do this. France and the U.S.S.R. are not paying their share and Canada, because it pays the bill, is able to keep its forces on Cyprus. That shows that you must approach these problems with great care and attention.

Middle East Peacekeeping Force

What about Viet Nam? Were we not over with the Poles and with the Indian representatives? I went over there to see the situation for myself. Never, ever, anywhere was there a Canadian Forces group as emasculated as that group which went there for the purpose of looking after the peace. Why were they emasculated? The Poles, no matter what Canada decided and endeavoured to advance, said, "No." Now, in 1973 the United Nations, as a result of our pressing and our saying, "Please take us," has finally decided, "We will take you, provided the Poles participate as well." I do not understand that. Apparently, the U.S.S.R. once more is using a country under its domination in order to cause difficulty in the possible settlement of the frightful problems facing the Middle East.

Speaking of the Polish, let me refer to a telegram which the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Sharp) received within the last couple of days from the National Polish Congress of Canada. To what are they objecting? It reads:

The Congress deplores the fact that Poles were used because it is very much against the interest of Poles. This is a typical example of the use of small nations by super powers. We hope public influence will prevent other such occurrences. Some of the pilots who flew for Egypt flew for the Communist side in North Vietnam.

The government cannot say that it has no information in this regard, because the Polish Congress communicated with the government. The telegram continues:

As an explanation as to wy Polish pilots did not refuse to go: Many officers refused to participate in the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 and a special prison was set up in the city of Torun. The prison was overflowing with service men who refused to participate in the invasion. These men were finished, thrown out of the army. At the risk of completely breaking their lives and careers they could not refuse.

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe (Mr. Wagner) had that information. He brought it before the House last week in the form of a question. No answer was given then, and no answer has been given so far.

Further, I have in my hand a copy of a telegram which was sent to the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe by the Canadian Polish Congress. He did not present this himself. It reads:

We were pleased to learn that you have recently raised in Parliament recent newspaper reports alleging the use of Polish pilots in the Middle East. These reports have given us deep concern and dismay. The blatant use of Polish airmen against their will and against the best interests of the Polish nation which has no interests in the Arab-Israeli conflict but save indeed a deep desire for world peace, serves only to expose the role of the USSR in furthering its imperialist policies at the expense of its captive satelites. As Canadians we protest this abuse of captive peoples by the super powers to further their political ends. We urge that this matter be further investigated by the Canadian government. . .

The hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe raised the matter alluded to on November 8. An answer has not been provided so far. Further particulars about the matter were given in the Toronto Sun of November 8, 1973, in an article written by Mr. Lubor Zink. I do not always agree with him. Let me say this about him, however: he has one of the most magnificent war records of any person here who is either a member of this House or in the press gallery. In his article he points out this fact: there has not been any answer on this subject because the U.S.S.R., in trying to press forward its aims and bring about what it has sought

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November 14, 1973

Middle East Peacekeeping Force to achieve by its machinations for the last 75 years, would use Polish airmen in whatever numbers were available for the Egyptian forces. I mentioned the lack of interest displayed by this House in this subject. I have spoken in the House on many occasions over the years. I was here in the darkest days of war, and today I am greatly concerned over the situation in the Middle East.

In 1956, the U.S.S.R. was in the background, trying to gain control of the oil resources of the Middle East. They are there today. Some years ago, when I was Colonel Nasser's guest, every consideration was shown to me. I went to the Aswan Dam while it was under construction. It was a hot day; I stayed in the air conditioned car while my wife went to the complex. I noticed a number of people who looked as if they were Slavic. Two days before then Colonel Nasser had told me, "There are only 200 Russians in my country." I asked the governor at the site how many Russians there were in the country; he replied, "There are about 2,000". I asked him the composition of this number, and he said that there were so many engineers, so many technicians, and so many others. Next morning he called me and said, "I made a mistake; there are just 200." Everywhere there was the domination of the U.S.S.R. over Egypt.

Where are we today? The Middle East war, launched without notice on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, is viewed with deep fears by many people. That outbreak of war, it is thought, possibly will envelope other nations, and eventually a large portion of the world. There is an armistice today, a ceasefire. It is not a very certain one. Already, in the last 24 hours, disturbing events have taken place. Soldiers participating in the work of the peacekeeping force have been interfered with, not by guns, but physically. There is a powder keg there, the danger of which affects every one of us. The U.S.S.R. has dreamed for generations, from the days of Disraeli and Gladstone, of building a hegemony over the Middle East.

How serious is the situation? While the U.S.S.R. says it believes in peace, it has in the last three years increased its army by one million men to 3,200,000, suggesting at the same time that the NATO nations should reduce their forces. And what about the navy? The largest navy in the world today is the navy of the Soviet Union. And where is it? It has travelled through the Black Sea, through the Dardanelles. The world's largest navy is in the Mediterranean. What is it doing there? Why are Soviet ships going back and forth as they have been doing in the last two or three weeks?

The Winnipeg Free Press-that is a paper which the minister reads with the care all of us do; and he has a personal interest, also-says, and it has not been denied, because Brigadier Malone is one of those people who do not allow statements to be made when they are without foundation-

Soviet forces are now fully established in Egypt with at least one brigade of Soviet airborne troops barring the way to Cairo and another Soviet brigade barring the road to Damascus.

The minister is going to the U.S.S.R. tomorrow, and I wish him all the best. It would be interesting to get their explanation as to the reason they have two airborne regi-

ments in a war in which they say they have no interest. In addition, in the last few weeks, between October 1 and the end of October, 215,000 tons of war material was shipped down the Black Sea into the Middle East area. Furthermore, it is unheard of for tanks to be driven aboard ships with their fuels tanks and ammunition chambers ready filled. Yet this has taken place at the South Russian port of Nikolayev.

Mr. Speaker, too many people in our nation and in the western world, anxious for peace, are permitting themselves to be lulled today by a detente which we practice but which the U.S.S.R. does not practice. I remember Sir Anthony Eden, one of the greatest statesmen Britain produced. When one looks back to 1956, one begins to wonder about the action of, the United States in holding him back. Had he been successful, along with the French and Jewish troops, many of the events which are occurring today would not have taken place.

It has been a terrible war for the Jewish people. It has been a terrible war for the Arabs, too, but their population is almost 20 times that of Israel which means that sooner or later, unless peace is attained, attrition will destroy Israel. All she asks is that she be recognised as a nation. But for the last several years, from 1948 on, the Arab nations have refused. I endeavoured to discuss this matter with Colonel Nasser. He looked at me as if to say: Where is Israel? The attitude of the Arabs is this; if you don't mention a thing, it is not there. They never mentioned it, not one of them, though they knew full well I was going to Israel immediately afterward.

The latest figures released in connection with the 17-day war indicate that some 1,800 of those killed were in the Israeli army. Let me give hon. members an idea of what that means in terms of population. It would mean that

16,000 Canadians were killed. It would mean 108,000 men as far as the United States is concerned. That is how serious the position is. I suggest to the minister that when he gets over there to Moscow, instead of saying "Here's to you!", and "Here's to me!" he should tell them the time has come for them to realise that their conduct in the Middle East is detrimental to world peace.

What is the purpose behind the Soviet moves? Oil. We are all going to suffer because the Arab nations have struck at the industrial jugular of the western world and Japan by reducing the amount of oil they would ordinarily ship. How many people realise how powerful these Arab nations are? I went to the trouble to look up the production figures and, if the House will permit me, I shall place them on record. There is King Faisal of Saudi Arabia. I remember meeting him in San Francisco in 1945. He is king of a country which today produces 355 million tons of oil a year. The Amir Sabah as-Salim of Kuwait disposes of 137 million tons a year; the Shah of Iran, 289 million tons; Colonel Ghadafi of Libya, 109 million tons; President Boumedienne of Algeria, 51 million tons. Then, there is Shaikh Zaid of Abu Dhabi who caused the minister such difficulty when the hon. gentleman heard he had decided against sending any oil to Canada-that was the first time we had heard he existed! This country, Mr. Speaker, turns out 64 million tons of oil a year.

Here are some other rulers whose countries are rich in oil: Shaikh Khalifa of Qatar, 28 million tons; Sultan

November 14, 1973

Qaboos of Oman, 14 million tons; Shaikh Rashid of Dubai, 11 million tons. The total, Mr. Speaker, comes to 1,148 million tons of oil a year. And the U.S.S.R. is in there. That is what it wants. Unless there is a change in the attitude of the Arab nations, an attitude which presently constitutes almost a fatal thrust at the western world and Japan, the consequences are not hard to foresee.

What are the Arab nations using this power for? Blackmail. Any nation which does not fall into line with their views goes on the black list. While the Secretary of State for External Affairs, with the optimism which characterizes him at all times, has not told us the full facts in this connection. I think Canada will not receive more thanks from the Arab nations after the force goes over there than it did before the force arrived. Who is going to win the war in the Middle East? Who has won it? Not the combatants but the U.S.S.R. It has achieved that grasping control that it has been looking for for generations. When the minister talks to members of the Politburo next week, I hope he makes it very clear that Canada understands exactly what is taking place.

I do not read press dispatches often, Mr. Speaker, but I do recommend for reading an article entitled "Five minutes to midnight" by Joseph Alsop which appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press on November 8 last. He says:

One source of apprehension, it appears, is the tone the Kremlin has been taking with the U.S. government. Another source-and one by no means to be underrated-is the way the Soviet press has begun to talk about the Watergate horror as crippling to the President.

The article continues:

. .. the Soviets are already making conditional preparations to intervene with their own troops. In Egypt, for example, there is considerable evidence of the new presence of Soviet-made Scuds."

They are tanks. The article says they are still coming in.

This, Mr. Speaker, is how serious this matter is. No one need suggest to me that we do not have to have proved to us that a peacekeeping force is needed there. But with the Russians continuing to foment trouble and to throttle the western world industrially, that peacekeeping force has a responsibility that all of us can contemplate in face of a danger that I hope is not as overwhelming as it appears to be.

Egypt now says it will open the Suez canal. That is part of the aim of the U.S.S.R. Drew Middleton has stated that the reopening and improvement of the Suez canal, already under discussion in Cairo, would strengthen the Soviet Union's strategic position in the Persian Gulf and in the Indian Ocean. The only nation standing against this is Iran. Iran, the dominant military power in the Persian Gulf, is seriously concerned over the prospect of stronger Soviet forces in that area if the canal opens, says Drew Middleton.

I mention these things, without having a prepared speech, because I feel so aroused that the Canadian people do not realize today what is happening. They do not realize it in the United States because, after all, all they can say as far as Watergate is concerned is that no one has yet been drowned in Watergate. But other than that, what is happening in Washington has been to give to the

Middle East Peacekeeping Force U.S.S.R. the new hope and expectation of what it can get away with; it no longer fears the United States because it believes it is divided.

What about this force that is being sent, Mr. Speaker? The minister spoke with pride of Canada's reputation, and there is no disagreement with that. But I suggest to the minister that there must have been an awful lot of soul searching, because the government of Canada advised the number one combat force of paratroopers in Edmonton to get ready. Then, when I raised the question in the House, I attempted to move a motion under Standing Order 43 to this effect:

That this House views with concern the indecorous haste exhibited by the Canadian government in its anxiety to secure consent of objecting nations within the United Nations to having Canadians in the peacekeeping force for service in the Middle East, whereby without regard to the magnificent record of Canadians in two world wars Canada's No. 1 combat alert unit is to be placed in a secondary position in the peacekeeping force being given a responsibility-

-and I then used this phrase-

-analogous to that of hewers of wood and drawers of water-

Then, the government backed up and did the proper thing. It decided to mobilize the Signals from Kingston. I see the minister smile, as if that were one of his contributions. But let me say this to him. The government turned a complete somersault.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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November 14, 1973

Mr. Pearson:

Yes.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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November 14, 1973

Mr. Pearson:

That is just what I was coming to, Mr. Speaker. I have been looking up the record in the last day or two in order to see what we had been able to do in this matter. We did follow it up.

November 14, 1973

I made the suggestion, Mr. Speaker. At that time, there was an exchange of views but parliament was not as uncertain then as is the parliament of today. I say that we face one of the most serious threats to peace that has been faced since 1945 and yet how many members are in this House, how many members of cabinet-four! The Prime Minister is absent at a time when parliament is being asked to support the action decided upon by the government, as was its responsibility. However, even before parliament makes a decision, some forces are abroad. The remainder of the force will complete their journey to the Middle East on Monday next.

Mr. Pearson continued as follows:

We followed it up with the governments most particularly concerned, namely the Israel government, the British government, the French government and the United States government and with the Secretary General of the United Nations and again with General Burns, the truce commissioner.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
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November 14, 1973

Mr. Pearson:

Yes, he was limiting the value of this force at this time to a particular situation on the Israeli-Egyptian border.

A little later he said that he had met with various representatives of the United Nations. The Hon. Earl Rowe interrupted him with a question.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
Full View Permalink