Walter David BAKER

BAKER, The Hon. Walter David, P.C., Q.C.

Parliamentary Career

October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
PC
  Grenville--Carleton (Ontario)
  • Progressive Conservative Party Deputy House Leader (September 21, 1973 - February 24, 1976)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (September 21, 1973 - February 24, 1976)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
PC
  Grenville--Carleton (Ontario)
  • Progressive Conservative Party Deputy House Leader (September 21, 1973 - February 24, 1976)
  • Deputy House Leader of the Official Opposition (September 21, 1973 - February 24, 1976)
  • Progressive Conservative Party House Leader (February 25, 1976 - March 26, 1979)
  • Official Opposition House Leader (February 25, 1976 - March 26, 1979)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
PC
  Nepean--Carleton (Ontario)
  • President of the Privy Council (June 4, 1979 - March 2, 1980)
  • Minister of National Revenue (June 4, 1979 - March 2, 1980)
  • Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (October 9, 1979 - December 14, 1979)
  • Progressive Conservative Party House Leader (October 9, 1979 - December 14, 1979)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
PC
  Nepean--Carleton (Ontario)
  • President of the Privy Council (June 4, 1979 - March 2, 1980)
  • Minister of National Revenue (June 4, 1979 - March 2, 1980)
  • Progressive Conservative Party House Leader (April 14, 1980 - September 8, 1981)
  • Official Opposition House Leader (April 14, 1980 - September 8, 1981)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1408 of 1408)


January 16, 1973

Mr. Walter Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, I wish to direct a question to the President of the Treasury Board. In view of the submission made by the Public Service Staff Association for amendments to the two statutes respecting employment of public servants and that amendment was mentioned in the Speech from the Throne, and in view of the statement of Mr. Claude Edwards and the concern of their membership about further delays, will the minister advise the House whether the amendments proposed in the Speech from the Throne will be introduced into the House by February 1, 1973?

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PUBLIC SERVICE
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January 12, 1973

Mr. Baker:

These are the basic principles that ought to be embodied in anything we are asked to confirm in this parliament.

The Minister of Finance also said that no party has a monopoly on national unity. I want all hon. members of the House to understand that I agree with him, but I also want to remind him and the House that national unity is a two-way street, and I suggest that he remind the Prime Minister.

January 12, 1973

The whole question of language training is important to Canada and I am glad to have the opportunity to speak on it in the throne speech debate. In the short time available to me, I want to say that I hope the government will reconsider the whole program of grants to the provinces for second language training. There is no doubt that the place to start language training is with the young, and there is equally no doubt that this will be much more effective than taking an older man or an older woman and attempting to teach them a second language. But the shot ought not to be scattered and perhaps we should consider, at least at the outset, the concentration of those funds within the bilingual districts of Canada, as a real beginning. There ought to be adequate research to identify real and realizeable targets, the measurement of the effectiveness of language training programs and the lowering of teacher-student ratios.

In this whole field, the stressing of impossible deadlines ought to be thrust aside and we ought to move in such a way that in a generation from now-I do not say 100 years from now, although the Prime Minister always talks about 100 years from now-those who are children now will be able to communicate with each other in both our official languages.

The whole question of the national capital of Canada is one with respect to which there was no reference in the throne speech. I regret that, because I believe it is of singular importance to the country, not only from the point of view of those things that I have been discussing but also from the point of view of people who live in the national capital area. There can be no doubt that there is no body of the federal government that has a more profound effect upon the life and growth of the Ottawa area.

I believe that the time has come to review the operations of the National Capital Commission in the development of this area and with respect to its relationship with other governments in the area. I hasten to point out that I do not intend us to embark on any grand inquisition of the National Capital Commission-far from it. But it is a fact that there has been no large-scale review of it since 1956.

In recent years the role of the NCC has changed. At one time its predecessor was the builder of highways, the maintainer of roads, and also the maintainer of flower gardens. Today the NCC has moved from that primitive stage to be a major force in the life of this area. In that same period of time the local municipal institutions have also changed; there are now large and powerful regional municipalities on both sides of the Ottawa River.

The NCC plans and arranges for the provision of large parkways and other works that affect the whole thrust of the planning and development of the area. It owns or administers government installations and buildings that affect the revenue picture of the local municipalities. It owns the largest tract of open land, the green belt, through and around the city of Ottawa and the townships of Nepean and Gloucester.

It has made commitments in sewer and sewage treatment installations, and in other matters, and thereby influences development both in the public and private sectors. It owns vast areas of parkland. In short, its influence on the Ottawa area, on the city of Ottawa, the townships of Nepean and Gloucester and the cities of Vanier,

The Address-Mr. Baker

Hull and the Gatineau region, is immense. I believe the time has now come, in view of the changing operations of the commission, to examine thoroughly its structure and operations.

Perhaps now we ought to explore whether there should be representatives of the local or regional governments on the National Capital Commission. This is something that was tried at one time and abandoned. Perhaps it ought to be re-examined again in these new circumstances. Perhaps we ought to see if there are any consultative processes that will permit a closer relationship between the NCC as the municipal arm of the federal government and the local municipalities in this area.

What is the future of the green belt in the next 20 years and how will it affect development, if at all? Is there a green belt agricultural policy? Can we make it into a model agricultural area for the whole of Canada? How will it affect the development of single and multiple family dwellings, of commercial and industrial development and all the problems of servicing such development? Is there any way in which the multicultural nature of the country can be focused and emphasized in the national capital area? It is not now. It would be very healthy if it were emphasized.

What is the real role of the NCC in the development of a transportation system for the national capital area, which so far as my township alone is concerned has grown from a population of 2,000 to 70,000 in a period of 22 years? Ought the National Capital Commission to be represented on a national capital transportation commission to serve both sides of the river? I am sure there are many answers to these questions and, indeed, many more questions.

A review by a joint committee of this House and the Senate such as was undertaken previously, or by a committee of this House alone, would provide real answers, with an opportunity for public input, and input from the members of this House, from planning organizations, from farm organizations, from ratepayers' and community associations, from the municipalities generally and, indeed, from the government itself with respect to its role. I am satisfied that the commission and its staff would welcome such an inquiry and I urge the government to consider this matter among its priorities.

It is Friday evening, Mr. Speaker, and I have occupied the time of the House enough. I want to thank you, Sir, and through you my colleagues, for the attention given to this my maiden speech.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
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January 12, 1973

Mr. Walter Baker (Grenville-Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, as I rise on this first occasion to address the House in the throne speech debate I want to add my congratulations to those which have been heaped upon Your Honour by hon. members on all sides of the House. This is a double pleasure for me because, as you know, Sir, your constituency of Stormont-Dundas borders mine, and the distinguished townships of Matilda and Mountain which are in my constituency look to your city of Cornwall as their capital. I am naturally pleased, as well, to see the hon. member for Halifax-East Hants (Mr. McCleave) appointed Deputy Speaker. I have known him only a short time, but his reputation preceded him because other members of the House have told me of his wisdom, of his moderation and reason. I am satisfied that during the life of this parliament that will become apparent to all of us.

I do not have to address you, Sir on the subject of the beauties of Grenville-Carleton, the worth of its people and the variety of problems that face them, because as a distinguished member of the bar of Ontario, particularly

The Address-Mr. Baker

eastern Ontario, for many years, all these matters will be familiar to you.

I am perhaps unique in this House in that I have very many distinguished hon. members as constituents of mine. I met today at lunch, for instance, the hon. member for Algoma (Mr. Foster), who tells me he lives there. I notice things are rather quiet in the constituency, so I imagine he is behaving himself. The minister of urban affairs is a constituent of mine; he lives along the Rideau River. On behalf of all those who live along the Rideau River in my constituency I would remind him that as the river goes by his door he has a great job of work in cleaning up that mess in order that it can be enjoyed by him and all others. The hon. member for Kamloops-Cariboo (Mr. Marchand) and the hon. member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Poulin) are constituents of mine. I am pleased to say that on the street on which I live in Parkwood Hills there lives the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) and the hon. member for Winnipeg North (Mr. Orlikow). In fact, on many occasions prior to entering this House I have pushed the car of the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre out of the snow. When I hear of that organic understanding, I wonder if my action was wise.

I want to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the performance, and I must call it that, which took place in the House on Tuesday night by the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion (Mr. Jamieson). I must confess I did not learn very much about economic expansion in this country, but I enjoyed his speech because it was laced with wit and wisdom. If any hon. member is prepared to move a motion that he be granted an Oscar for that performance, I am prepared to second the motion. For all of the good fun, there was one significant statement that lingered with me when I left the chamber. That was his statement about the right and, indeed, the duty of a member of this House to speak for the people he represents and for his constituency. So, Mr. Speaker, I should like to speak about these matters for a few moments.

In the southern part of my riding along the St. Lawrence there is an industrial belt, the prosperity of which depends to a great extent on the actions that are to be taken in this House by the government in fields of taxation, economic expansion and the national economy generally. In between that area there is a large urban area to the north; there is an agricultural community that suffers all the problems of marketing and diminishing income that plague the agricultural community everywhere in Canada. In addition to that, it was beset this year by weather problems of an adverse nature and it did, I am sorry to say, suffer from the inadequacies of remedies that this government and the present minister's predecessor were prepared to recommend to assist the farmers who were in need.

Throughout the whole area there are small businessmen in small towns who are waging their own war of attrition against shopping centres, chain stores and other huge operations, and only time will tell how they can fight that battle and whether or not it will be won.

In terms of influence, whether in Prescott, Nepean or along the Rideau River which I mentioned, the overriding influence on the lives of the majority of people in my

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The Address-Mr. Baker

riding is that of the federal government, which happens to be the largest employer. Whatever this government or any other government decides to do or not to do has a direct bearing on the quality of life of most of the people in the constituency.

In the throne speech the government has indicated that we will be asked to consider amendments to the Public Service Staff Relations Act and the Public Service Employment Act. I want to say to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the President of the Treasury Board, who is in the House, that I welcome that news. However the government may protest to the contrary, I am sorry to say it is a commonly held opinion that the government's record in this field is not without blemish. I join the staff associations in welcoming this intention of action that is long overdue. I hope when these amendments are presented to the House they will adequately deal with all the subjects these associations have laid before government on many occasions.

Without going into any detail at this time, I hope there is an expansion of those matters which can be the subject of negotiation and arbitration between employees and employer. I hope there will be reconsideration of the whole process of arbitration to ensure that it is expeditious, just and trusted. I hope this expansion will lead employees all over Canada to turn their backs upon the strike weapon and look to trusted tribunals for a way out of disputes between employers and employees.

I trust that the legislation will contain reconsideration of the whole field of managerial exclusions to ensure that they are reasonable and that to the greatest extent public servants in Canada will have access to their staff associations. I hope the areas of negotiation will be broadened to include matters in respect of pension plans, life and health insurance plans, rules on promotion, lay-off, transfer and probation. All these things are important to the people of Grenville-Carleton and to their families and, following the advice of the Minister of Regional Economic Expansion, I intend to speak on them at the appropriate time.

I am bound to say that with all other public service matters, the vast majority of the people of Grenville-Carleton are concerned about the policy of bilingualism as it applies to the public service. The Minister of Finance (Mr. Turner) took pains in the opening of his speech on Tuesday night to remind us that institutional bilingualism is not to be confused with individual bilingualism. I was delighted to hear the hon. member for Ottawa-Carleton vindicate me in the position I have taken with regard to the implementation of the Official Languages Act at every meeting throughout this past campaign.

I am pleased that the minister's remarks in respect of fair, humane and a new, flexible approach to the implementation of bilingualism in the public service are to be honoured. I was pleased to note that the Minister of Finance supported my view that the program should contain safeguards, and it does not contain them now, that would ensure that no career public servant of either language group would suffer penalty or hardship in our earnest efforts to implement a most difficult program.

I want to remind you and the members of the government, Mr. Speaker, that when a voice is raised against

thoughtless and heavy-handed methods of implementation-and that is what we have in this country-that ought not to be twisted in the mind of any member of the cabinet into an implication that the voice is raised against the principles of the Official Languages Act. I ask the government not to confuse an attempt at a dialogue with destructive criticism.

Every public servant I met during the campaign-and I met thousands-supported the principles of the Official Languages Act. I met very few, however, who appreciated the attitude of the government in the matter of implementation-let that be clear. I heard about it, and I wager that the Minister of Finance heard about it. I wager that the President of the Treasury Board heard about it, and I wager that the Minister of Finance's ears are still burning over what he heard during that campaign. There was almost universal distrust, when there ought not to have been. There was anger, when the government could have fostered understanding. The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), I am sorry to say, did nothing to allay that anger when he came into my riding at the invitation of my opponent and said, "If you don't like it, get out of the public service".

Mr. Speaker, I also heard another line, familiar to me, that came out of the speech of the Minister of Finance last Tuesday. He said:

I have little patience with those who insist they are in favour of bilingualism in principle but then proceed to engage in destructive criticism of almost'anything beyond token efforts to put this into practice.

That is familiar, because the Prime Minister came into my riding and said he had no patience with those who merely paid lip service to the principle of the act. I ask the government not to confuse a request for reason, moderation and simple justice with lip service. I ask them to ensure that in whatever they do to cure any inequities for one group of Canadians, they do not begin to inflict inequities on another group. I say that because it is also within the true intent and spirit of the Official Languages Act. The act was meant to give equality of status to both our official languages. I am interested in ensuring that there is also equality for the people who work in those official languages in the public service of Canada.

I put the matter this way, Mr. Speaker, as simply as I can: public servants want to be hired and promoted on their own merit; public servants want a legal guarantee that the Pearson pledge will be honoured; public servants do not want favours, they want fair play.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
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January 11, 1973

Mr. Baker:

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the minister would accept a question now or prefer that I wait until the end of his speech.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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January 11, 1973

Mr. Baker:

A few moments ago the minister mentioned the announcement of a super-city outside Ottawa. Could he tell us whether or not he has had any consultation with the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton with respect to its location, and whether or not he has had any consultation with the township in which it is to be located concerning its location.

Topic:   SPEECH FROM THE THRONE
Subtopic:   CONTINUATION OF DEBATE ON ADDRESS IN REPLY
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