John George DIEFENBAKER

DIEFENBAKER, The Right Hon. John George, C.H., P.C., Q.C., B.A., M.A., LL.B., LL.D., D.C.L., F.R.S.C., F.R.S.A., D.Litt., D.S.L.

Personal Data

Party
Progressive Conservative
Constituency
Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)
Birth Date
September 18, 1895
Deceased Date
August 16, 1979
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Diefenbaker
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=84909dc1-9a60-44b3-a939-2393ab563089&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
barrister, lawyer

Parliamentary Career

March 26, 1940 - December 10, 1942
CON
  Lake Centre (Saskatchewan)
December 11, 1942 - April 16, 1945
PC
  Lake Centre (Saskatchewan)
June 11, 1945 - April 30, 1949
PC
  Lake Centre (Saskatchewan)
June 27, 1949 - June 13, 1953
PC
  Lake Centre (Saskatchewan)
August 10, 1953 - April 12, 1957
PC
  Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (December 14, 1956 - June 20, 1957)
June 10, 1957 - February 1, 1958
PC
  Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (December 14, 1956 - June 20, 1957)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (June 21, 1957 - September 12, 1957)
  • Prime Minister (June 21, 1957 - April 21, 1963)
March 31, 1958 - April 19, 1962
PC
  Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)
  • Prime Minister (June 21, 1957 - April 21, 1963)
  • Secretary of State for External Affairs (March 19, 1959 - June 3, 1959)
June 18, 1962 - February 6, 1963
PC
  Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)
  • Prime Minister (June 21, 1957 - April 21, 1963)
  • President of the Privy Council (December 21, 1962 - April 21, 1963)
April 8, 1963 - September 8, 1965
PC
  Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)
  • Prime Minister (June 21, 1957 - April 21, 1963)
  • President of the Privy Council (December 21, 1962 - April 21, 1963)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (April 22, 1963 - September 8, 1967)
November 8, 1965 - April 23, 1968
PC
  Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)
  • Leader of the Official Opposition (April 22, 1963 - September 8, 1967)
June 25, 1968 - September 1, 1972
PC
  Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)
October 30, 1972 - May 9, 1974
PC
  Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)
July 8, 1974 - March 26, 1979
PC
  Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)
May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
PC
  Prince Albert (Saskatchewan)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 3 of 6383)


March 19, 1979

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I have no hesitation in saying that there was nothing said in derogation of yourself. That stand I take. There is no other stand I could take when I did not have any word for seven, eight or nine days, having pointed out that there was no reference to this motion of mine. I made it here from my seat. It was heard and it was known of. It did not appear in Hansard. Why, it is not for me to say. Whatever takes place of that kind in the House of Commons must appear in Hansard.

I can understand the incongruity of the position, a motion having been passed and bringing in the Secretary of State for External Affairs as the seconder. I, foolishly, decided I did not want to embarrass him and that is why I immediately announced that it was moved by me and seconded by my hon. friend, the hon. member for Vegreville. Anyone who interprets

March 19, 1979

Privilege-Mr. R. Stewart

what I said as any derogation of yourself is simply not stating the facts.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
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March 19, 1979

Right Hon. J. G. Diefenbaker (Prince Albert):

Mr. Speaker, I discussed this matter fully with Your Honour this morning, and I will review something of what actually took place. I moved a motion on March 7 commending what was being

March 19, 1979

done by President Carter in his courageous initiative in going personally to Egypt and Israel in his continuing endeavour to bring about peace. So that my motion would receive the unanimous support of the House, I called up the Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Jamieson), who has done exceptionally well in that position. I am one who knows something about the difficulties of the position. I read to him what motion I had in mind. He said that he did not think he could second it. I had not asked him to, but T would have welcomed it.

I made the motion, or at least generalized what the motion would be. Mr. Speaker asked the House whether it would accept it, and it did. Then before I had the opportunity of saying in the regular course that I move, seconded by whoever it was, Mr. Speaker said that it was moved by me and seconded by the Secretary of State for External Affairs, who apparently bowed his head when the question arose as to who was seconding the motion. Your Honour accepted that, as naturally you would. However, being concerned on the basis of what the minister had said, that he could not second my motion because of international responsibilities-and I can understand that-I knew there was a change in that regard. By the time the House met ten minutes later, he indicated to Your Honour by his motion of the head that he seconded it. I was concerned about that because 1 felt he would be embarrassed by having been placed in the position of doing that, which he advised me or informed me he would have difficulty doing within the ambit of his position. I immediately rose and said I should point out that I moved the motion and it was seconded by the hon. member for Vegreville (Mr. Mazankow-ski).

When the blues came out that afternoon, and as soon as I noticed that there was no reference to what I had said in this regard, I pencilled the blues. I underline the fact that I have not seen them since, but no doubt Your Honour has seen them. But a mistake had been made because this motion of mine did not appear in Hansard. Time goes on and nothing whatever is done to clarify a situation which could have been explained very clearly and succinctly, as it was by Your Honour this morning in our discussion.

I betray no uncertainty in my stand when I say that through the years I have had the views of various Speakers. In 1957, when I became prime minister, I endeavoured to bring about the achievement of a Speaker who would be dissociated totally from any political party. I suggested to the hon. member for Winnipeg North Centre (Mr. Knowles) that if he would permit me to nominate him, I was sure it would be acceptable, but he decided otherwise.

As to yourself, sir, I have no hesitation in repeating what I have said on two occasions out of the House and publicly two or three months ago, that Your Honour has discharged your responsibilities as Speaker in so acceptable a manner that I hoped Your Honour could be induced to become the permanent Speaker. Now, that was my attitude and it is unchanged.

Having had no word at all concerning the reason my motion did not appear in Hansard-and in particular I emphasize

Privilege-Mr. Diefenbaker

that in the blues 1 set out the exact wording-I could conclude only that something had taken place which would not be in keeping with parliamentary tradition as I understand it. Now,

I claim always to be right and sometimes wrong, but never on the side of wrongness. When there was nothing said about this and no answer given by anyone to the wording clearly set out in the blues, naturally I wondered what had happened.

I raised this matter on Friday in the course of dealing with some matters which concern me very deeply, the erosion of parliament. It is no longer the institution as I have known it through the years, with its ups and downs. But, sir, what has been happening in the last few months is that questions remain unanswered and questions run over a period of months simply because ministers of the government realize that if they answer those questions it will not put the government in good light. I have put two or three questions on the order paper, and I am not going to refer to them again. Then, sir, I raised this question.

If I had had the very comprehensive answer which you gave me this morning at any time in that period of nine days, there would have been no reference to this matter. If anyone who interprets what I said as in any way unjust to you, I can only say I never had such a probability or possibility in mind.

I love this institution of parliament, and when I see it being derogated from day after day, and ridiculed, I begin to wonder. The last few days have been an example. I was not present when the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) allegedly made this statement, but on Saturday night-and by that time I had gone home because at my age one does not stay out until 1.30 in the morning-a report came over the radio that he had said that the House would be dissolved. Well, now, either he meant that or he was kidding the Canadian people. Sir, I mentioned parliament. There is no more lonesome position for anyone to occupy than being the only living former prime minister of Canada, but on the basis of things like that people across the country are beginning to point out to me that I will have company.

Topic:   ORAL QUESTION PERIOD
Subtopic:   PRIVILEGE
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March 16, 1979

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I will be glad to receive any interruptions. I do not see the hon. gentleman here for York East (Mr. Collenette) who was here just a while ago. I was hoping that he would be here, because he spends most of his time in this House saying no to everything we bring in by way of Standing Order 43. I intended to say some very kind words to him. I was raised in York East and I have a very high regard for the people of that constituency. I just hope that they will rectify the mistake which they made when the opportunity comes.

If we give the Government of Canada the power for which they are asking in this bill and the power contained in the referendum bill, we might as well close this institution now. The opposition will cease to exist.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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March 16, 1979

Mr. Diefenbaker:

I have no objection to questions, but we are trying to get questions answered by the government now. I hope she will be more successful in any that she asks.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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March 16, 1979

Mr. Diefenbaker:

Creep. This government is afraid of an election. The Prime Minister travels and faces university audiences. I can understand that because there is some intelligence there, and they proved it by their reaction yesterday. Creep, that is what this government is doing. It is bringing forth major matters of legislation at a time when it is expected an election will take place, which has been postponed from time to time by the Prime Minister because he is afraid to bring in a section such as this. It simply places parliament in the position of being a pawn under the control of a majority government. I would have more to say about that were we not waiting to vote on this amendment by the hon. member for Northumberland-Durham.

The hon. member for Northumberland-Durham has stood and pointed out the danger. If the minister wanted to establish for himself a reputation for preserving parliament, he would ask those surrounding him to vote for this amendment. For if it is defeated, it is all over. The government can do what it will and pass whatever regulations it chooses, because at the end of three days a vote will take place regardless of the merits or demerits. Already having this power, why does the government

March 16, 1979

Energy Supplies

want to repeat it? It is this kind of thing which is causing people concern, and they are learning a great deal as a result of TV. They are finding it difficult to understand some of the frivolities. After all, we are always serious in the House of Commons or we would not last very long. A sense of humour one must have, but across this country today people are asking themselves: "What is the attitude of this government? They give us answers that are not true."

I have had questions on the order paper since November 12 and November 22, I believe, which have not been answered. They are perfectly simple questions. The only reason that they are not answered is that the government is afraid of what the answers will be and that they will as a consequence be embarrassed. Trust cannot be built in this House of Commons that way. Parliamentary underlings cannot be deciding what questions shall or shall not be asked.

I asked another question, I believe around February 15 or February 20, which will be of interest to hon. members from Quebec, about how Levesque got the Legion of Honour. It is just a question because I see a nice relationship between Levesque and his former pal, the Prime Minister. Why do we not get an answer? I asked the Speaker in a letter to do something, and he said that there was nothing he could do. Yet the other day in the House I found out in consequence of an admission that he had informed the CBC that only certain selective things can be placed before parliament.

Another example is the Treu case. Treu was treated like a reprobate. What about "Go-go-Goyer"? We paid out $10,000 for that matter without any justification whatever. 1 am simply pointing out-and it is as disturbing to me as it is to all Canadians-that we have come to the point where we cannot believe anything which this government says. It either refuses to answer when it will be embarrassed, or the answers which it gives are given with a total disregard for the facts.

I simply ask of the minister that he establish for himself a record of an appreciation of parliament not by wave of the hand but by simply saying, "We do not need the power, we are not going to push it through and we will simply permit this subsection (4) in the amendment of the hon. member for Northumberland-Durham to be accepted." If he does that he will do more for parliament than anything else he could possibly do. He could at least show that he has a respect and an appreciation for parliament and that he does not intend to ride rough-shod over an opposition that produces an amendment to a provision which he does not need. If he does not need it, why does he ask for it?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   ENERGY SUPPLIES EMERGENCY ACT, 1979 MEASURE TO CONSERVE STOCKS
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