Mr. Gordon Graydon (Peel):
On as important an announcement relating to such a far-reaching discussion as has taken place between our own Prime Minister and the President of the United States something ought to be said on behalf of those who sit in other parts of the house.
I agree with what has been said with respect to the great advantage and benefit which comes from a close personal contact between the Prime Minister and the President of the United States. These talks help knit closer together the two great nations that compose this North American continent, whose objectives, aims and future destiny are so closely bound up together. These exchanges of views on the personal level between the Prime Minister and the President ought to be maintained and ought to be more frequent so that the least possible area will be open for disagreement on any point between Canada and the United States in the future. We have everything to gain by being together and everything to lose by being apart in even a small way.
I was interested in what the Prime Minister said with respect to the St. Lawrence seaway. This is a matter which is of concern to many people in Canada if not to all people. I was concerned this morning to read, as I suppose most hon. members were, of the new proposal by the President and the cabinet with respect to the United States part of the seaway. It seemed to me to come at a rather late hour in the discussions with respect to the St. Lawrence deep waterway. I have not been aware, and I do not suppose other hon. members have been aware, that the United
States government contemplated that kind of policy, and it must have been somewhat of a surprise to the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for External Affairs when it was brought out of the cabinet meeting yesterday. I imagine most people will be concerned for the simple reason that while it is hoped it may not involve a delay, still when the avenue is left open for participation between the United States and Canada, which the Prime Minister has left open, the undoubted result will be to constitute a delay. I say that because one of the problems that this government and this parliament face in dealing with the United States government is that it is one thing for the government to take a position, and it is another thing for the congress to take the same position and for that congress speedily to carry out the decision that is made.
Frankly, I am concerned lest some of these new things thrown into the St. Lawrence seaway discussion may have the effect of causing delay. I would ask the Prime Minister, when the appropriate time arrives today, and after his having sized up the situation personally in Washington, to tell the house what his own idea is as to when the first sod will be turned on the St. Lawrence seaway project, and when it is likely to be finished.
Those are questions which will be asked every member of parliament in each area when we go home. While it may be a difficult question to answer, it is a question which will come to the front in every conversation concerning the St. Lawrence seaway development. I think parliament ought to know, before it recesses, what views the Prime Minister holds on that point, after his personal contacts in Washington.
Then, I have been interested in the question of trade, and dealt with it myself briefly in the discussion of the estimates of the Department of External Affairs. I was glad to note that the matter was raised again by the President and the Prime Minister. Because it does seem to me that while for some considerable time we have been facing the threat of actual aggression by the Soviet union on the military front, we are now definitely faced with aggression which is just as grave, just as menacing, just as serious and just as dangerous to democracy, on the economic and trade fronts.
That is why I think it is important that article II should at this time be the subject of most careful examination, consideration, study and action. While we may be holding our own on the military front, wa must also see that at least we are holding our own on the economic front as well.
The Prime Minister made reference to his representations to the President regarding the unanimous resolution passed by the house the other day. I would ask him to go a little farther on that point, and to indicate to the house what reception he got from the President concerning these various moves which seem to be on foot by various groups in the United States, with influence in the congress, as a result of which particularly agricultural commodities either have been subjected or are about to be subjected to regulations which will have the effect of barring the entry of our agricultural products into the United States.
That is one of the most serious problems now facing this country, and I suggest parliament ought to have something more than the simple and formal statement made by both the President and the Prime Minister on that point. Because that is another matter concerning which questions will be asked the membership of the house when they return to their constituencies after prorogation.
It is of vital interest to agriculture as well as to some other branches of our economy that we know just where the congress and the United States government are going in the matter of barring entry to the American market in respect of some of our most important products.
I do wish to say to the Prime Minister that I hope this is but the beginning of a series of meetings between prime ministers of Canada and presidents of the United States which may occur at intervals sufficiently frequent to bring about some kind of common voice in the councils of the world on the military, economic and other fronts. With so much in common, so far as the peace of the world is concerned, I would hope that this country and the United States might go forward in the friendly manner to which they have now grown accustomed, so that not only would our friendship be maintained but that it might be advanced and promoted in years to come.
Subtopic: EXTERNAL AFFAIRS