Hon. Theogene Ricard (Saint-Hyacinthe):
Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a few remarks on the motion introduced by the hon. member for Champlain (Mr. Matte).
I find it somewhat difficult to accept unreservedly the motion introduced by my friend and it will be impossible for me to support it as moved.
However Mr. Speaker, some parts of this motion give me the opportunity of making a few remarks, and I will try to make them as obectively as possible.
But first, I should like to go back to what happened through the years since 1949, for instance, which were fraught with far-reaching consequences.
Mr. Speaker, it will be recalled that federal-provincial relations and the sharing of the tax basis have always given rise to great difficulties and constant wrangles, at least between the provincial and federal governments.
Mr. Speaker, hon. members will recall that it was under the guise of national emergency that the first incursions into the provincial field were made in 1939 by the centralist government of the time, a liberal government.
They will also recall that the then premier of the province of Quebec was sharply criticized-and he still is, as a matter of fact-for opposing the centralist views of the government in office. And in so doing, Mr. Speaker, he was only following the example set by his predecessor the Hon. Alexandre Taschereau.
Also, from 1939 to 1945, the central government found its way into the manpower field, especially into unemployment insurance. Premier Duplessis said at the time that the field of activity was definitely the responsibility of the provinces. However, anxious not to interfere with the war effort that this country was making toward a victory in the conflict that opposed us to Germany, the Quebec Premier simply gave up objecting.
They will also recall the letter that was written by another former premier of the province of Quebec, Mr. Godbout, relinquishing to the central government a large share of the powers which, according to the constitution, belonged to the provinces. Here again, this was done as a contribution to the national effort to ensure victory.
Mr. Speaker, I am mentioning those historic events simply to show that the Liberal party has always produced centralist governments, which ignored needs and aspirations not only in the province of Quebec, but also in all the other Canadian provinces, in order to preside over the fortunes of the country, in their own way. The Liberal party has always considered itself called upon by divine
March 17, 1972
right to govern the country and it has always discharged its functions in that spirit.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: BUSINESS OF SUPPLY